tv Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 14, 2011 8:00pm-1:00am EST
from events like this and what we're ex-cluting from the evidence. -- excluding from the evidence. i think that's blatantly not in the best interest of the soldiers. mr. gohmert: will the gentleman yield? mr. carter: yes. mr. gohmert: there's an article dated -- in "the washington times" that says army warned about jihaddist threat in 2008. says almost two years before the deadly fort hood shooting by radicalized muslim officer, the u.s. army was explicitly warned that jihadism, islamic holy war was a serious problem and threat to personnel in the u.s., according to the conference. it references patrick poole, army lieutenant colonel joe
siff myers -- joseph myers. it says the shooting at a little rock shopping center and a shooting in fort hood, texas, have exposed the problem of the army's deficiencies in understanding the nature of the domestic islamic terrorist threat, mr. poole said. . did the army make any warning from the 2008 conference and make policies to counter the threats. the answer is no, mr. poole said. and it goes on to discuss this whole problem and mr. poole said, i noted because of our lack of understanding of islamic doctrines, islamic jihad and that our counterintelligence function is broken, outdated and equal opportunity officials, we
were going to get soldiers killed in america on our own bases for that professional ignorance. this is the kind of thing that should not be happening. this article is in 2010, before at least two other individuals had gone on al jazeera in uniform, blasting our military and indicating they could not ever be deployed in a muslim area, and it's also worth noting that the term islama didphobe that is being generated right now actually originated with the organization of o.i.c. they came up with the term, islamaphobe and ongoing effort to brand anybody who attempts to identify those by their beliefs
who have killed americans, terrorizing americans as an islamaphobe. and there are places like harvard where a professor from india wrote an article about the attacks going on in india by muslim extremists and how that should be dealt with. he was fired because islamic activists at harvard do not believe we should have free speech anymore. as i mentioned on this floor earlier this week, one of the 2005, 10-year goals of the muslim brotherhood here in america is to subvert our constitution to sharia law by 2015. and that effort is ongoing. and when they continue to brand
professors, soldiers, intelligence officers and we need to laws to prevent people from describing radical jihaddists who want to kill our own american people, as long as that's being done and that's being allowed, then our first amendment rights are being subverted to sharia law and well on our way to them meeting their 2015 goal as more and more good folks have been won over into this idea that was thought, that gee, if you say anything about radical jihaddists, radical islamics, you are the sick one and need to be stopped. this is an ongoing effort around the world, and we cannot allow it to overtake america. we should be able to recognize those wonderful patriotic muslims in america for who they are and we should be able to
recognize and talk about those who want to kill us and destroy our way of life for who they are. they are radical islamic jihaddists and i yield back. mr. carter: you referenced in your poster and showed us a picture of the -- mr. abdul -- the man who was saying he couldn't go to war. that was back in -- what year was that -- mr. gohmert: 2010. mr. carter: december 7, 2011, after the workplace violence -- i'm sorry, that's the wrong date. july 28 of 2011, another soldier made the claim that he was -- and that was abdul referenced in
this story -- more and more of these folks are stepping up saying they can't be deployed because they are muslim and can't kill muslims and they reference hasan, this man who is sitting in the jail awaiting trial probably this spring and as i understand it, awaiting trial in a death penalty case, potential death penalty case. everybody knew what it was when they attacked the pentagon. what happened to us that we decided when they -- in front of 50 witnesses, somebody shoots a bunch of people, and we can't recognize what that was. this was a surprise attack, like pearl harbor. that was a premeditated murder with more witnesses than you can
put on the stand. this isn't going to be a hard case to prove. fortunately, he didn't kill everybody in the room and left a lot of witnesses left to testify. he is lucky he didn't killed like our two officers responded. mr. gohmert: my friend, the judge indicates he was lucky. unfortunately in his perverted way of thinking and also the way of thinking that confounded thomas jefferson when he was negotiating with the islamic pirates, he believed he would have gone to paradise and have dozens of virgins at his disposal if he had been killed. he doesn't think of himself as
lucky, nor would those in iran once a nuclear or nuclear weapons are assuredly procured be any different. they would believe that if they were to go up with a nuclear weapon that they carried in to some place where lots of americans were or israelis were, then they would be assured of instantly being transported to paradise. some of us have a different view of what they would find when they meet their maker after this life and i think they are going to be terribly surprised. but our job and our oath is to our constitution. it's to provide for the common defense against all enemies, foreign and domestic. and when someone presents this kind of danger to our troops, it is just unconscionable that our
military leaders would become some politically correct and so militarily neutered that they would not stand up for their own troops for those whose care has been put under their service and attention. i yield back. mr. carter: thank you for yielding, mr. gohmert. let me read to you a resolution, h.res. 845 recognizing november 5, 2009, attack on fort hood, texas as a act of radical terrorism and jihad and united states army major hasan has communicated on multiple occasions with radical islamic
terrorists on the topic of justifying jihad on the united states and its armed forces, whereas major hasan address to the department of defense personnel concerning the justification of jihad against the united states armed forces. whereas major hasan is record reported to have trained and an attack at fort hood, texas, with the specific intent to kill and injury those troops before deployment to overseas theaters of war. whereas major hasan has declared his attack to be an act of jihad in defense of islam shouting god is great in arabic while gunning down unarmed personnel and civilians.
whereas major hasn is charged with 13 murders during that attack and mazz the department of defense submitted correspondence to the united states senate committee on homeland security which referred to the violent islamic streamist attack on fort hood, texas in the context of a threat of workplace violence. now therefore be it resolved that the house of representatives recognizes the attack on fort hood, texas as an act of radical islamic terrorism and jihad against the united states armed forces. i have submitted this to the house and i'm going to be seeking support for this resolution. i wonder sometimes what our
forefathers would think of how far we have gone out of kilter in recognizing who's our friend and who's our enemy, how we are so concerned about what the speak police or the voice police would say to us about some language we use that we would be willing to put those men and women who wear the uniform of our armed services at risk rather than make a statement that might offend somebody. i think of our grandparents and would look at this country and say, what happened? what happened to the united states of america that i fought for in world war ii or korea or vietnam? when did it become evil for americans to speak the truth?
why would people who have four stars on their shoulder and who we highly respect as leaders of our armed services tolerate being instructed to end this concept of political correctness and be treating this as if this were an ordinary incident of work force violence? how do you justify that? where's the common sense in this effort? we're worried about hurting other people's feelings and other people are killing us. i mean, this doesn't make any sense. and most of all, let's not forget -- because i attended a funeral of one of the civilians. i have met with some of the wives and children of these dead
combat soldiers and talked to the parents who looked me in the eye and said, how do i figure this out? my kid was there to be deployed for the fourth time. he stood in harm's way for our country three years already. and he goes over to the center for a routine -- routine paperwork and gets attacked and killed in texas, just right down the street from where he lives. and his children and his wife are without a brave american soldier, who had proven his worth in combat in three deployments already? this is something that a parent says, how could anything like
this ever happen? i mean, i know to be praying every day for my child when he is in combat. this is the profession he has chosen. i respect it. i fear for him and i worry about him and i worry about he or she, and now, i get the word that my son is killed down the street from his kid's elementary school while he's going through a routine of filling out paperwork in the army. what do we tell that parent when they find out that a report has come out from the government that said routine work force violence? come on. come on. what's wrong with this? i think it's just tragic. and you know, we just -- i introduced a bill that just said, look, acknowledge it for
what it is. nothing will disrespect the purple heart or others who are wounded in a combat theater. to just acknowledge that these innocent people who got attacked on their way to their next deployment or on their way back on our soil, on our military base in our state of texas, give them the respect and acknowledge they were part of the war effort, that this guy shot him because we are at war with terrorists. give them combat credit, give them the honor and respect that comes from that. but we aren't able to get that done but we'll keep on trying. . . i have people say, my kid ought to get a purple heart my daughter ought to get a purple
heart for the wound she received, now she's debilitated, has to go out of the army my son who is going through constant therapy for his head wound, he ought to be recognized by the army for what happened to him, the reality of what happened to him. so we won't make the easy acknowledgment that these folks were in combat and the only reason they didn't fight this guy is because they were not armed. and the reason they were not armed is because they weren't -- you're not supposed to be armed on post. this guy attacks them. if they'd been armed, it would have been over from the first bullet fired, these were come pat veterans. but no. we are very strict, we're not going to change designation the army has or that designation the army has but we aren't going to call this guy a
terrorist, don't mention the word islamic, don't recognize his relationship with islamic terrorists, ignore that evidence, ignore the testimony of 50-something odd witnesses and call it, treat it within the concept of work force violence. what does that say to the wife or husband of the soldier or the father or mother of that soldier or the brother and sister of that soldier that was killed or wounded with a debilitating wound, many of which are still struggling with their wounds, just like they do in combat. and yet we conveniently define things in that situation but refuse to define the act that caused the situation. now this just is not right. and that's why i'm very grateful my friend mr. gohmert and i came down here to talk
about this. this is about trying to set the record straight. you know, let's call it like we see it. and let's don't think we have to protect anybody. and it has absolutely nothing to do with the luzz him -- muslim religion. if he was a baptist and shouting baptist slogans an his reason for shooting somebody, we ought to call him a baptist. this is a tragedy. it's a terrible tragedy. because these were soldiers all of whom had been willing to go in harm's way on behalf of our country and most of whom had gone in harm's way on behalf of our country. and suffer through the that miserable weather and those dark, lonely nights and all the other things that soldiers suffer through when they're addressing terrorism around the world. i say around the world because we've got plenty of places
we're addressing terrorism, not just iraq and afghanistan. and to have us be willing to soft pedal what happened to them is an american tragedy. i'm going to continue to talk about it. mr. speaker, at this time, i will yield back the balance of my time and i thank you. the speaker pro tempore: under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the gentleman from california, mr. garamendi, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
mr. garamendi: mr. speaker, thank you for the opportunity to spook this evening, i'm joined by my colleague from ohio, ms. kaptur, i want to thank our colleague from texas for the explanation he gave about the tragedy at fort hood. it was indeed an american tragedy as are other acts of violence against this country both within the country and around the world. no doubt that there is radical islam no doubt that it is killing not only americans but others around the world. and it is part of our task to find an appropriate way to deal with it. it's also part of our task to appropriately recognize the tremendous sacrifice made by our soldiers both here, as in
the fort hood incidentering and certainly in iraq and afghanistan. today marks a very, very special day in american history. it is the end of one of the great american tragedies and that is the war in iraq. no matter how we may think of this today, i think we can be very confident that this war of choice was indeed a very bad choice. more than 4,000 meshes have been killed in this war and perhaps several times that number injured. physical injuries, we often see them just off the floor as these men and women return from their medical treatment at the bethesda hospitals and we mourn their physical loss. the mental problems that our veterans have incurred after
multiple deployments in iraq will go on for years as will the physical injuries. post-traumatic stress syndrome is a major, major problem among the thousands of veterans or hundreds of thousands of veterans that have returned. these are issues that we must deal with and as we mark today, the final withdrawal of american troops from iraq, our heart, our compassion, and indeed our actions go out to those veterans who have served this nation in this war. whatever we may think of the war, we must always think well and appropriately of these soldiers, member and women, mull pl tours, national guard, reserves, an the act i have army. and navy and air force and marines. all serving this country. many things have happened here on the floor to deal with those issues that they have incurred
just two weeks ago we passed major pieces of legislation that are a followup to earlier pieces of legislation for the veterans. the democratic congress in 2009 and 2010 enacted the most far-reached veterans bep fits since the end of world war ii. a new g.i. bill is in place. job opportunities and training are in place. enhancement of the medical services through the veterans administration and many others that were culminated last week, wrong word, not culminate bud added to last week with legislation that provides a very strong incentive for employers to hire unemployed veterans. the employment rate for -- the unemployment rate for veterans is generally twice as high as the average american unemployment rate. those benefits go to the
employer, reducing their taxes by $2,600 for every veteran they hire. if they hire a long-term unemployed veteran, it'll be $5,600 and if it happens to be one of the disabled veterans, perhaps one that we often see outside this chamber, then it's $9,600 reduction in the taxes for if -- for that employer. we hope employers across this nation hear this and reach out to the veterans in their community and give them a job. the rest of the time we have tonight i'd like to talk about jobs for americans. as much as we may want to think about the wars and today we did, we passed the defense authorization act, we have to also think about americans here at home that need a job.
we've been working for some time on a program that we call make it in america. a rebuilding of the strength of the american manufacturing industry. over the last 20 years, we have seen a rapid decline in the manufacturing base of america, because that's where the middle class found its place. that's where the middle class found their opportunity to use the skills, whatever training they may have, whatever education they may have, and get a good, solid job that would support a family. 20 million americans were employed in manufacturing 20 years ago. today, it is just over 11 million. almost a 50% decline. we can't let this continue. we cannot allow the outsourcing of american jobs. we have to bring those jobs pack home and there are many ways we can do that and our make it in america agenda by the democratic party here in congress is taking root and
tonight we're going to talk about many parts of that. joining me is marcy kaptur from ohio, once and will be the heart of the american manufacturing sector. i know you have many pieces of legislation and i know your intense passion on rebuilding the manufacturing sector in america. so let's talk about some of the things going on here in congress and what we can do. ms. kaptur: i want to thank congressman garamendi for bringing us together to discuss the most porn issue on the minds of the american people, healing the economy here at home an producing a sufficient number of jobs to employ all americans who want to work. and i join the congressman's comments about our veterans, veterans who have served our country so bravely, a great sense of self-sacrifice and national sacrifice. we thank them, particularly during this holiday season, their families, their children,
their relatives, their friends, their communities, all their employers, all of those who understand what this requires. and i want to just mention that in connectioning our veterans coming home to the employment question, it's a very serious challenge we face because even in a state like ohio, currently of all those who remain unemployed in highway, and there are many, 52,000 are veterans. already. and it was correct, i think, for president obama in going to visit with our veterans and active military at this holiday season that one of the issues that came up repeatedly was, well work our veterans coming home, where are they going to work? with so many unemployed already . to give an example, in ohio, and many other parts of the
country, for every job that exists, 100 people apply. or more. or more. and even if we filled every job that exists, we would have millions of americans still out of work. and yet, we have huge unmet national needs and that's where making decisions here, both on the tax side and the spending side, to get our economic house in order, and to rain in the abuses in the financial sector on wall street that have caused such damage here and abroad are absolutely critical for us to deal with. and to keep those at the top of our priority list. i think congressman garamendi and i agree that some of the partisan wrangling here is nonproductive. if you want to put the country back to work, that's what the
debate should be about. we should have job thermometers here show how well we're doing and how fast we are helping to grow this economy. so as with congressman garamendi's support of the veterans tax credit for hiring, i support that as well but it's not sufficient. it's not sufficient. because as i understand it, the tax credit will yield about 40,000 openings around the country, 40,000 companies will hire maybe one worker or however it will ultimately transpyre but we have a need to re-- transpire but we have a need to reinvest in america and the most important factor in reinvestment is for our panks to have confidence and our people to have confidence that there's going to be stability in our commay, and i think the partisan wrangling works against that. wouldn't you agree, dodgeman?
mr. garamendi: it really does if i might take a moment here. . later in this discussion, you will take this up in much more detail, but it's very clear that the financial sector in their rush for profit, created the housing bubble, didn't do it by themselves. there is greed on the part of certain people who bought houses and the real estate people was involved in that, the mortgage community. here we are after bailing out wall street, what is wall street doing to bail out main street? not much. not much. i heard a discussion from a banker saying we are making all kinds of s.b.a. loans. those are loans guaranteed by the federal government, but what risk are they taking? we passed the d.o.d.-frank legislation, which was --
dodd-frank legislation, which was designed to rape in wall street. -- to reign in wall street. and so that the kind of problem that existed in 2000 where the banks went crazy in greed, creating these fake instruments. but nonetheless, dodd frank is there. our republican colleagues are refusing to fund the implementation of that program, putting all of us at risk once again. let's move -- and i want to go back to the manufacturing sector and some of the issues that arise there and particularly the unemployment rate in your communities. now, we have to re-authorize the
unemployment insurance program, otherwise, 3.3 million americans are going to lose their unemployment insurance in the first of the year. and where you have such high unemployment as you do in your communities, what are they going to do? how are they going to feed their families and pay their mortgages. and when you provide an unemployment check, it goes into the economy and creates $1.6 for every dollar of a check. and you have talked to me about the unemployment and the way in which the cessation of the unemployment insurance would devastate people here at holiday season. share with us what you were sharing earlier in the week. ms. kaptur: congressman garamendi, the problem is when you have 100 people out there
looking for a job, a given job, means 9 won't get it, and these are people who want to work, they have a record of working and have actually collected their benefits and paid into the insurance fund for unemployment in their respective states, but when the economy doesn't recover as fast as it must, what happens after they use their first 26 weeks of unemployment, what are they supposed to do? where are they going to work in order to provide for their families? and we had, at the federal level, extend unemployment because of this massive recession that we are digging out of. we have had to extend people -- these are people who want to work, who have worked, who have a working record and they continue looking for jobs and i can tell you some of them have been looking for jobs for three and four years. it isn't that they don't want to
work, but imagine -- and how many people i have talked to, they have sent out hundreds of resumes. they have gone door to door looking for work. they have tried, and yet, the door keeps getting shut in their face. at some point, any human being begins to think, there must be something wrong with me. there must be -- that i can't obtain work when they have a very good record. many of them are doing two and three jobs just to bring income in and then they're trying to look for a full-time job. it's very disruptive to family life. many of them have moved in with their relatives now and shouldn't feel like failures. i said to my audiences back home, it isn't your fault. you didn't do this to america. the biggest banks failed us and failed our country. they created false money. many of them became so rich that no normal person could imagine
what they are floating in. but it isn't the fault of the ordinary worker. they shouldn't take it out or eat themselves out in self-agony. mr. garamendi: i see it in my district in california. one of the things we have been trying to do is take up the president's call on this matter. the president, back in september, put forth the american jobs act. many pieces of -- we'll talk about some of those pieces today, in the american jobs act, there was an extension of the unemployment insurance that economists, left, right and septemberer, say is the best way to stimulate and keep the economy moving and he suggested that we do -- those who have been unemployed for two years or more and i think it's the only humane and compassion nature thing to do particularly here at the holiday season. he made a suggestion that we
continue the payroll tax reduction, which was 2%, that is from 5 1/2% to 3 1/2%. he suggested it go down to -- that the reduction be 3.1%. now we are as concerned as our republican colleagues about the deficit, and the president is, too. and he suggested that this needs to be paid for. we cannot borrow money from china to do the unemployment insurance or to do the payroll tax deduction. the payroll tax deduction, it's rather important. it's over $1,500 in the pocket of every working person in this nation. that's an enormous amount of money for a person who is earning $10, $20 an hour. how is he going to pay for it? he suggested we pay for this in what is called tax fairness, that we take the upper income,
those people that have earned $1 million a year or more, and increase the tax that they pay over $1 million by 3 1/2%,. not bet be low but above. these folks have had an enormous tax reduction over the last decade, part of the bush tax cuts. unfortunately, that didn't happen. and you and i have been here and perhaps we ought to share with the public what happened yesterday when a bill came to the floor to provide unemployment insurance extension and a payroll tax deduction. it was really not a shining day for the house of representatives. and we're going into some detail here, but what happened was, the
legislation put forth by our republican colleagues basically said, ok, we'll continue the payroll tax deduction, not at .1%, but at 2% reduction, which is about $1,000 for an average worker and that's good, certainly better than not doing anything, and we will also do the unemployment insurance, but only for half the time that the president suggested. and here's the kicker, all of that will not be paid by those who earn more than $1 million, the millionaires and billionaires, that will be paid for by the middle class. it was the 99 percenters who were going to pay for this. it was the great shell game. and a very, very sad day. fortunately, the president said i will veto if it gets to my
desk. and the senate said this is not fair to the working men and women of america. we were here and share with us some of your thoughts that went on yesterday and that rather sad piece of legislation. ms. kaptur: it's like a teeter-totter. and everybody in our country knows that we all will have to sacrifice to pay down our long-term debt. and when we make public decisions, that we help our economy grow. every business that i go into, they say, marcy, bring me customers. bring me customers. the advantage of helping the middle class, whether they're out of work and they receive unemployment benefits which they have earned, or whether it is allowing an individual through a
payroll tax holiday to have a few extra dollars of spending money, that is going to go directly into our economy. it goes to every small business, whether it's to buy vegetables at the corner stand, whether it's to buy gasoline for your car, whether it's to buy clothing for your children. when you think about where those dollars will go, it's going to go to essentials, not -- it won't be weasted money and all of history -- wasted money and all of history has shown us that middle class has not gone up. buying power has gone down and prices are going up. they are guarding every penny. i had to go out and buy throw rugs the other day because of the rain and i couldn't believe the price of throw rugs.
i thought my goodness. i went to two, three stores and i don't have time to do that. but i was reacting to the increase in prices. and the average family has great difficulty in buying those kinds of items for those few hundreds of dollars mean everything and they will use it to improve their home. mr. garamendi: you raised a very important point about the fate of the american middle class and the extraordinary benefit that has grown to the top 1%. this is where the 99% comes in. let me just show you this chart. it's become one of my favorites. and this chart is about the growth of income. down here in the bottom are the bottom four -- the bottom 99% of americans and the income that
they have seen over the last -- since 1979. virtually no real growth in the income of the men and women, middle class of america. if you look at these lines, this is the top, this is the middle and the bottom here. no growth, just a little tiny growth. and incidentally, most of that comes because both the husband and wife are working, not because just one of the wage earners has seen it. this top line, this top line, marcy, is the 1 percenters. we can see over the last 30 years, the one percenters have done very nicely. they are very productive and been able to find good opportunities and make the most of it and we wouldn't deny
anybody that opportunity to become very, very wealthy in america, if they play by the rules and i know you are going to talk about some that have not played by the rules and become extraordinarily wealthy. but if you play by the rules you ought to do well. but what we're talking about here is tax fairness. a lot of this growth right here in the last decade was a direct result of tax policy. george bush tax cuts for the superwealthy that were supposed to create jobs, didn't create jobs. in fact, we had a loss of employment in the united states. even if you discount and take out the great crash of 2007-2008 in the george bush era, the argument for reducing the high income tax rate is that it would create jobs, because these were the job creators. didn't create jobs. did not create jobs.
so now we're talking about how do we keep this economy going, how do we provide for those that don't have a job, how do we put money back into the economy. it will be spent. well, we do it with tax fairness and that is, as the president suggested, that for those people who earn more than $1 million a year, after all their deductions, that that amount of income above $1 million would be taxed an additional 3.5%. . . that's fair to the american workers. is if they are unemployed or looking for a job, they'll have an opportunity. ms. kaptur: congressman garamendi, i was thinking as you were talking, at that chart that shows the flatness of income growth in the middle class, and thinking about the last several years of our u.s.
trade deficits, thank you so much, and probably most americans don't realize it but annually we rack up about half a trillion dollars, over $500 billion more imports come intg our country than exports going out. and it hits the working class, the middle class of people very, very hard because it substitutes for the income they would normally earn if they were manufacturing in this country as many cars as they used to and the -- what we see happening is we see a tipping toward the top, but really all sectors are affected by the fact that our trade deficit lops off most of the g.d.p., the gross domestic product growth, every year. a half trillion dollars. bleeding out of our economy. thank you so much for purchases, of everything from
electronics to energy to automobiles, that should be made inside this country. it's a huge downdraft on every income car tile in our country. thus your efforts to promote american made goods are right on target. mr. garamendi: before we go back to mackic -- to make it in america, which is our principal policy at least among those talking about the make it in america agenda, i want to make it clear that this debate over the payroll tax deduction, or reduction, and the unemployment insurance, is not over. we've got a little bit of time to get this done before the end of the year when all of these opportunities for people to continue to survive terminate. right now the senate is going to take up the house bill and it's our understanding that that bill is not going to move in the senate. we need to get past this
gamesmanship that we saw in the legislation that passed here just yesterday and get serious about finding a compromise that can deal with this problem. here's our wish list. this is the american wish list, we have santa up here, but let's just say it's to the house of representatives, all of us, and to the senate. what we would like to have in the stocking is not a bad piece of -- lump of coal but rather a payroll tax cut extension. at least -- and we could probably settle for the present. if we want to compromise, we wanted 3% but we could settle for the 2% reduction. that's $1,000 in the pocket of every working man, woman, and child, well, not child, but every man and woman in the state. that's $160 -- that's 160 million people. that's an enormous thing for us
to do. so this is one of the things we wish would happen that we would do, your representatives, democrat and republican alike, and the senators that we would do this for the working men and women of america. so they can have food on their table and a roof over them. the other deals with the unemployment insurance. 5.7 million people are going to be losing their unemployment insurance in the coming year. what in the world are they going to do? the jobs are not there as you so clearly point out, ms. kaptur. the jobs are not there. they need help and that's where the unemployment insurance program will help them and simultaneously help the economy, as ms. kaptur pointed out. and we can pay for this. we can pay for this with a fair tax system in america.
ms. kaptur: i wanted to comment obliquely based on what you've been talking about but looking at job creation in a given regionism look at the regions i've been privileged to represent. we have many small companies or medium sized companies, i happened to be speaking with one of them, herzel, a major producer of tomato products. i said, i was looking for your spaghetti sauce in a major fwrosery store and couldn't find it. it's the boast spaghetti sauce i've ever eaten. the owner of the company said you don't understand, marcy. he said, we really aren't allowed on those shelves because one of the big spaghetti sauce manufacturers, i won't mention the name, pays the grocery store a fee to keep all new products off their
shelves. and even though herzel is not a new product, it's regionally bound and they can't get on the shelves of supermarks because of what's called slotting fees. mr. garamendi: we should work together, excuse me for interrupting but in my district we have a ravioli company. they make, we're talking about out of the world. maybe your sauce on top of their rave yoel lees we could get on the shelf. ms. kaptur: the large outlets that control retail sales in our country hurt innovation. what they do is make deals with some of the biggest companies, ask yourself why when you go through supermarket and you want to find soda pop, they call it soda pop in some place, they call it, what do they call in it your part of the country? mr. garamendi: obesity. ms. kaptur: well if you try to find different brands, you'll see certain brands at eye level because they pay thousand of
dollars to each grocery store to put it there. but if you want locally bottled soda or pop, you're lucky if you can find it on the bottom shelf and you probably can't. they have gate keepers. the public is largely unaware of this local meat. i represent a region that's both urban and rural. i love it, i'm privileged to represent it. try to get locally pr deuced pork on the shelves of large supermarket chains. good luck. you know. the same is true with vegetables. we could have so much more income growth and job growth in this country if we would have some consciousness by these big retailers and box stores to go local. we grow local, we make local but to try to move to it shelves, it's almost impossible. mr. garamendi: black friday, a week ago, all about the big retailers. but small saturday, now that was exciting.
a lot of advertising out in california about go to your local shop, buy local, buy small. and it was just what you're talking about, that is to find a way to provide opportunity, moving in this case customers to the local stores instead of the big box store, go down main street, stop at the local shop. they're very powerful. i don't know, i suspect that many of us did that we stopped a at the local store and didn't go to home detee powe we went down to the ace hardware. ms. cap purr: this year, i went to craft shows, i buy dozens a condition dozens of gifts, i find locally made items i know the money go into the pockets of local people and why -- these craft show, they hold them in churches and they hold them in auditoriums and -- why don't some big shopping center complexes invite them in? what's the problem with trying to help local innovation, local
development? we find so many restrictions that make it hard, one of the reasons we can't grow jobs fast enough is because certain interests in our society have such a lock on who can get in the door. there ought to be a section for local. we shouldn't have to pass a federal law for that. people -- we should be smart enough out there to do it, it creates more customers, always around, and a lot of us want to support local. mr. garamendi: i don't think we're talking about a law or new regulation, we're talking about something we ought to do for our communities, recognize that we're all part of a community. you said something a few moments ago that caused me to come back to this issue you talked about the trade deficit and the way in which we are literally exporting our money. we're also exporting our jobs. last december, just a year ago, on this floor, we took up a piece of legislation that dealt with this issue and it -- in
the previous tax code, there were tax breaks given to american corporations for shipping jobs offshore, for offshoring american jobs, they got a tax reduction. and some of us said, what in the world is that all about? we scrambled and tried to figure out where the codes were and a bill came forth on the floor that eliminated about 2/3 of those tax breaks given to american corporations when they offshore jobs. very interesting division occurred here on the floor of this house. it was a straight up bill, wasn't complex, it was on that issue. should american corporations continue to receive a tax break for offshoring jobs. that was the bill. no riders, no hidden ayen das, no extraneous sentences put in. this house divided right down
the middle. the democrats voted to end the tax cuts, the republicans not one republican voted to end those tax breaks given to american corporations for offshoring jobs. i'm going -- i don't get it, guys. you talk about jobs all the time, you talk about small businesses, and here you want to continue to subsidize the offshoring of american jobs? what's that all about? we never got an answer. but it speak directly to the point you were making earlier about policy choices. our work is policy. policy choices. are we going to do this or are we going to do that? are we going to continue to support american corporations for offshoring jobs, giving them our tax dollars? are we going to continue to allow the oil companies to be subsidized? the wealthiest industry in the world takes about $15 billion a year of your tax money and we
give it to them. the oil, the gas and the coal industries. about $15 billion a year in tax subsidies. why do we do that? why do we do that. ms. kaptur: you raise a good point, congressman. i went into one of these dollar stores, i went -- went say which one, i couldn't find a nonchinese made item on the shelf. mr. garamendi: i'd love to go into wal-mart and find made in america. wouldn't that be something? ms. kaptur: i'm a city planner by training so i look at the space in these stores and i thought, i could do this. i could clear one of these aisles, i could consolidate over there and i could provide a place for locally made items and let the local entrepreneurs compete. but give them a place on the shelf and don't make them pay exorbitant fees. it doesn't take an act of congress for business innovation in big box stores.
maybe america in some ways is losing her edge because if the c.e.o.'s in harge of these retail stores can't be creative enough to figure out how to help us encourage innovation at the local level, what are they getting paid so much for? i think of all the local food products, all the handmade sweaters, all the art work, all the pottery, that's made locally, can't get to shelves because they keep them out. you know, come on, men and women out there in the retail world. show a little creativity here. we have a lot of innovation at the local level. mr. garamendi: a little bit of patriotism. ms. kaptur: it takes a little bit of patriotism. mr. gir men dee: let me give you an example of what we can do with policy. we have a buy america policy that's in the been enforced much. i introduced a piece of legislation, h.r. 613, that simply says if it's our tax
money, and we pay this every time we buy a gallon of gas lean or glan of diesel fuel, we pay either 18.5 centers in gasoline or 26 cents for the diesel fuel in taxes, where's the money going? some of it, all too often, in fact a lot of it, all too often, winds up going offshore. give you an example. the oakland-san francisco bay bridge a multibillion dollar project, billion dollars worth of steel going into that bridge. it'll be a beautiful thing when it's completed. the bids for that came in for an american made steel bridge or a chi these made steel bridge. -- a chinese made steel bridge. a 10% difference in cost. that's a lot of money. the state of california bridge authority decided to take the 10% cheaper chinese steel. the result is, after years,
that the steel had problems, the cost went well above 10% and 3,000 jobs wound up in china and zero jobs wound up in america. so what this bill does, it simply says no more waivers, no more, if it's american made, if it's american tax dollars that are being used, it's going to be used to buy american made equipment. buses, trains, and the steel and concrete. it works. in the stimulus bill, which all our republican friends want to dismiss, in the stimulus bill there was one line for the several billion dollars of money that went into transit that said, that money can only be used to buy american made light rail, transit trains and locomotives for am track. siemens opened a factory in sacramento, california to build those light rail cars and
locomotives because the policy, drafted here on this floor, passed by the senate and signed into law by president obama, said that tax money can only be used to buy american made equipment. and it created hundreds of american jobs in sacramento, california. this bill and another one like it that's now been introduced by the ranking member, democrat in the transportation committee, will bring tens of thousands, indeed hundreds of thousands of jobs, when our tax money is going to be used to buy american-made equipment. ms. kaptur: you know, i wanted to mention, as you were talking, congressman garamendi, that as a result of the refinancing of the u.s. automotive industry, in northern ohio, from cleveland through lorraine, toledo, defines, the whole corridor, what we're seeing is a
reinvestment in the supplier chain. that includes steel such as republic steel. mr. garamendi: supply chain in the auto industry? ms. kaptur: supply chain in the auto industry. people don't realize how many jobs in america are connected to the auto industry. your state of california which manufactures a lot of semiconductors, half of the semiconductors procured in this country go into the automotive industry. if you think about carpeting, half of the carpeting sold in this country goes into automotive production. plastics, glass, you think about what's really in there. and as a result of what we were able to do here, with a lot of flack from one side of the aisle , though there was some support, was to refinance the u.s. auto industry. we just had an announcement in avon lake that a truck platform will be coming back to us from mexico. and so that is retention of jobs in avon lake. it is part of the rebirth of automotive and truck
transportation across the north. we're producing vehicles like the wrangeler, one of the most popular vehicles in the country, obviously, and the new cruise, for general motors. but all the supplier change, republic steel, they're putting in a newark furnace, you're looking at the restoration of production. it's coming slowly, but it's coming. and so we have to be proud of actions that were taken by the government of the united states through the action of congress and by the president to help save one of america's industries that is now paid back its -- that has now repaid back its loans and is rehiring. mr. garamendi: let me add to this. this was a result of the stimulus bill that put the money there, if need be, to rebuild the certain sectors of america. president obama courageously and with enormous opposition from republicans said, i will not let the american automotive industry die. this is a fundamental industry
in the united states, i will not let it die, and so he authorized the money that went to bail out general motors and chrysler. ford didn't take advantage of it because they had a different financial situation. but the result of that is precisely what you described, ms. kaptur. it's precisely the saving of the american automotive industry and all of the supply chain that goes with it. a very courageous action by the president. one that worked. for the benefit of america so that we can once again make it in america. i know that -- i'm going to wrap this up very quickly because i know you have another thing -- couple of other things you want to talk about with regard to wall street and i really want you to have the time to do that. and i think we've got about 15 minutes? 17. good. i guess -- that gives me two minutes to wrap up. ms. kaptur: i'd like to add one item though. mr. garamendi: we can go a little longer. but why don't you go ahead and take yours and then i'll wrap at
the end. ms. kaptur: perfect. i just wanted to say a deep thanks to congressman garamendi for bringing us together tonight and i wanted to say as a member of the china commission, we had testimony yesterday from various witnesses on the economy, on the legal structure of china, on democracy and the lack thereof in that country. and one of the points that we discussed was how closed the chinese market is to products from around the world. much like japan, much like korea . you look at singapore, many of the asian nations keep our products out. and we're asking american companies to try to compete in a situation where our market is open and their market is closed. so we can't get access to those customers. and one of the points that was brought up by one of the top economists that testified before the china commission was the fact that the chinese government backs those companies, really
the government owns the companies, and they infuse billions of dollars. so think about this. the workers and companies of northern ohio and the u.s. automotive industry is trying to compete in a global market where some of the major markets in the world like japan are closed. and they've remained closed for decades. china does not welcome us in. we are literally competing against state-managed capitalism. it is not a free market. it is not a market economy that we are dealing with. it's very controlled. and so when there was criticism by some that, oh, gosh, look at congress, you know, they're helping the u.s. automotive industry. it showed a lack of understanding of what these companies face in the global marketplace. it is not a level playing field. it is simply not. and unfortunately we have never had a trade ambassador
knowledgeable enough about the automotive industry, that came out again yesterday, who can really bargain successfully to give us a level playing field in one of the most important industries that we have. mr. garamendi: let me just give you another exarm. i thank you for raising that -- example. i thank you for raising that very, very important issue. last year this house by an overwhelming bipartisan vote set out to address the china situation. and it was a piece of legislation that simply said that when any government anywhere around the world unfairly subsidizes its business sector in a way that, to the dert meant of the american businesses -- detriment of the american businesses, then that country will face sanctions. and specifically it had to do with the chinese currency. the chinese currency is significantly undervalued, perhaps giving as much as a 20% advantage to china in its exports.
bipartisan, it passed here, it did not pass in the senate. however, this year, my republic cleel colleagues were not -- my republican colleagues will not even allow that to come up for a vote here even though it's passed in the senate. so the chinese currency bill passed in the senate, it's languishing in this house. i do not understand why our republican colleagues want to continue to allow china to have an unfair advantage. and another thing, and i think i was going to wrap up with this, i'll do it in about 10 seconds. china subsidizes to its solar and wind industry. so much so that they have literally taken over the market and have led to the bankruptcy of several -- a couple of american solar manufacturers, voled are a being one example -- solyndra being one example that's much discussed here but it's really as a result of china's driving down the price of solar panels. this bill, again one that i've introduced and it comes directly from my district because we have a major wind farm and solar systems there, says that our tax money that presently goes to
subsidize the purchase of solar systems and wind turbines must only be used to buy american-made wind turbines and solar panels. in other words, buy american, make it in america, rebuild our industry. i'm going to just wrap very quickly and turn over the microphone to ms. kaptur so she can carry on a couple of other issues that she wants to discuss. it's the holiday season. it's that time when we think about our families, it's that time when we think about our community. and we have a real obligation here in the house of representatives to put forth really solid legislation to support those men and women and families in america that through no fault of their own are unemployed. or having a very difficult time of making it in the current economy. as wages are driven down, as opportunities for advancement are diminished. but we hope for and what we pray
for is a consensus, a compromise in the next couple of days here on the floor of this house and with the senate so that we can pass legislation that would actually help the american workers. those that are unemployed. and those that are seeking a job or have a job and unable to make it with that payroll tax deduction, put another $1,000 in their pocket. and i want us to keep in mind that in america today there are 1.4 million children, 1.4 million children that are homeless. their parents have lost their jobs. they've lost their home. they're sleeping in cars, they're homeless. they may be able to find an opportunity at a motel. we've seen some of this on television. but this is in all of our communities. every community in america has this problem. and it's up to us here in congress to use what compassion and wisdom we possess to find
ways of addressing it. we have such an opportunity with the payroll tax deduction, with the welfare. and unfortunately the bill that passed here yesterday basically would put money into the right pocket through a payroll tax deduction or an unemployment check and then take it out of the left pocket with an increase in fees, a reduction in medical services, the close of clinics -- the closing of clinics or other ways in which that money would be extracted. yes, it would balance, it wouldn't increase the deficit except for the working men and women of america. we think that's wrong. and we've offered a different solution. i'd like now, i noticed that my colleague from new york has come. a couple of short comments, i promised ms. kaptur the last few moments of this so, welcome, mr. tonko, the east-west show is back in session.
mr. tonko: there you go. representative garamendi, thank you again for leading us in what is a very important bit of discussion about job creation, job retention in our country. and i couldn't agree more. with your sentiments that include this concern about providing a benefit to the middle class in terms of payroll tax holiday extender. but then also asking them to pay for that benefit. so it is like one hand is offering and the other hand is taking from our working families, middle class americans. this is not the prescription for success. what has been offered by the president is a payroll holiday extender, tax holiday extender for both employers and employees and there are many small businesses that stand to gain, the overwhelming majority of small businesses gain by that extension. and certainly the employees do. but it works best when you bring
leverage into the equation, that comes from the surcharge that is placed upon the most high income strata in our country. and when you look at the chart it's from -- charts from 1979 to the present day, there's no denying what statistics indicate . facts can't be argued with. there has been this exponential rise in the growth of income for the top 1% to about 250% of an increase. all while from 1979 middle income americans have seen a flatlining of their household income and now it's even dipping. so why mess with this progress that has been realized, this steady climb upward, slow but steady, from an 8.2 million jobs lost hole, we have climbed steadily, why would you mess with that obvious success that is coming back into the economy,
allow for america's middle class families to move forward and allow for that benefit to be paid for by someone other than the middle class? otherwise it's giving and taking from the same audience. it makes no sense. we stand by progress, we stand by progressive policy, we stand by our middle class, our working families. let's get it done for middle class america. without a strong middle there's a there is not a strong america. mr. garamendi: i thank you very much, mr. tonko, for bringing that up. i'm going to ask ms. kaptur of ohio to take the podium here and to tell us about wall street and some of the reforms that she's advocating. please. ms. kaptur: i thank the gentleman for yielding me this time and rise this evening on the subject of m.f. global and a clear need for greater oversight by this congress. mr. speaker, congress isn't doing its job to investigate the fraud that has infected our
entire financial system. fraud perpetrated by wall street , and it has hurt the global financial system as well. i think the reason is that too many people have forgotten that gambling with other people's money often entices very addictive personalities who are incapable of self-policing. they need rules. they need limits. and they need oversight. otherwise they just keep getting into the same trouble again and again, harming innocent people in the process by looting their assets. the american people know that corruption on wall street is pervasive and millions upon millions of our fellow citizens have been harmed by it. . the republican leadership has failed to aggressively investigate crime in the financial services sector. earlier this monthr i spoke about bloomberg's report about
hank paulsen inappropriately and hyped closed doors tipped off his former colleagues at goldman sachs and a handful of wall street insiders how fannie mae and freddie mac might collapse and what steps the government might take, all of this occurred on the same day that secretary paulsen led the "new york times" to believe that those two companies would give a signal of confidence to the markets. you could imagine what those financial insiders did with their investments before the rest of america was even aware. i also reminded my colleagues that the securities and exchange commission was finally rebutted recently in a new york court for settling fraud cases with major banks that allowed the biggest banks to walk away by simply paying a few fines without so much as admitting any
wrongdoing. i ask, where is this congress' oversight of these most crucial match inations that has harmed our world since the market crash in 2008. finally after months and months of press coverage, congress is taking a tad of action. the agriculture committee held one of the first hearings we have seen all year, that hearing called by representative lucas and ranking member peterson began to shed light on the eighth largest bankruptcy at m.f. global holding. its misdeeds have been widely reported but they deserve much closer scrutiny, and we need to subpoena their full records and transactions that led to the collapse. even before last week's hearing. we knew that mf global filed for
bankruptcy. citizens in my district have been impacted and harmed as over $1 billion disappeared from customer accounts. the "washington post" and other press reported weeks ago that the firm's c.e.o. former governor jon corzine placed a $6.3 billion debt on the debt of several european governments. the quarterly return showed $200 million losses, they lost 67% of its value. this is not just the case of an investment firm being lured by the higher returns of risk year bonds as they continue to piece evidence, there is criminal activity. this case has the trappings of a massive case of fraud. now c.m.e. reported weeks ago
that mr. corzine's company violated to keep its accounts separate. at last week's hearing, the public was told that as much as $1.2 billion may be missing from segregated customer accounts. this isn't just a case of misplaced money. the financial crest has been reporting a staggering amount of mall feesance. in an aparent effort to buy time, mf global september checks. many of those checks we know bounced. their request to transfer funds were denied and account statements being issued. accounts of people receiving bounced checks going back and finding their accounts were also altered inappropriately. if this doesn't sound like
fraud, what is it? the american people must demand more congressional oversight. congress needs to produce more information. i attended last week's hearing in the house agriculture committee. while some important questions were asked of mr. corzine, congress' responsibility has been far from met. anyone who followed the hearing watched as mr. corzine dodged questions and provided hollowed responses. the "wall street journal" presented an assessment of his testimony. according to "the journal," governor corzine ducked questions 15 times and used a well-known strategy for avoiding accountability by saying, i did not intend to break any rule. he apologized or expressed regret six times for the damage on countless families and
businesses, but the fact is, $1.2 billion, that is the amount that is missing from mf global segregated client funds which mr. corzine could provide no explanation. in fact, astoundingly, this seasonned trader pleaded ignorance of what was happening at his own company. let me mention that the commodities futures trading commission, jill summers, who testified at the hearing, was very invaluable to public understanding. mr. speaker, i believe that i have a special order and time remaining, my own special order for 30 minutes? the speaker pro tempore: the chair needs to confirm that. my apologies.
the speaker pro tempore: there being no republican to take the half hour at this time, under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from ohio, ms. capture for 30 minutes. ms. kaptur: let me rephrase this. at the hearing, the commodities futures trading commission, jill summers' testimony was invaluable to the public. her testimony places the mf global collapse in proper perspective and i'm quoting directly. he said they are the two most
recent futures merchant bankruptcy. while the leh map brothers was mon you men tall, commodity customers did not lose their money at either firm. in both stance instances, customer accounts were intact and obtained all open positions and all associated segregated collateral. that being the case, customer accounts were promptly transferred to futures commission merchants. with the commodity customers having no further involvement in the bankruptcy proceeding. unfortunately, that is not what happened at mf global, because customer accounts were not intact. the fact that customer accounts were not intact as commissioner summers described it, means that someone took other people's money. i believe most of us would call
that theft. even if some of the money is recovered by the bankruptcy process, that does not alter the fact that the process by which customer accounts were violated broke the law. it is an understatement to say that many american families and businesses lost important investments. the mismanagement of this one firm has put hundreds of people's investments in jeopardy. they deserve answers. congress has lead responsibility to ask hard questions and here are some questions that demand reapply. on transfers of -- reply on transfers, congress must exercise who said that transfers at mf global were made and i quote in a manner that may have been designed to avoid detection, so let us ask, should the person or persons who attempted to avoid this detection be held accountable?
and how should that occur? it seems unlikely mr. corzine is not responsible. so which person or persons at mf global made the decision to invade customer accounts? congress must assure full tracing of those transactions. a second group of questions should revolve around who are the responsible parties. if mr. corzine cannot recall or does not know what happened at mf global, as he seemed to claim, who should congress and investigators speak with at mf global to ascertain his exact role and those of other top executives? who's going to probe? that's the role of a congressional investigative committee. who was responsible for segregating customer account funds from mf global funds.
over $1 billion did not walk off on its own. some set of persons moved those funds and highly inplausible that no one authorized that action. so what set of persons authorized those actions exactly? another set of questions should revolve around who approved mf global risk standards. michael rose map, former chief risk officer who resigned in 2011, said that the stress that mf global was taking was too risky. any decision was prudent at the time -- and mr. corzine is arguing -- is against the facts of history, because mf global went bankrupt. congress needs to take whatever steps are necessary to find out
exactly who pressured mr. roseman to resign from blowing the whistle for the behavior inside that company. another set of questions can be asked about what other financial partners participated in mf global trade? there are allegations that the transfer of $200 million to jp morgan was suspected by bankers of utilizing mf client funds. to what extent are these allegations true? at what point can we determine that wire fraud was committed, and if so, by whom and what extent? all of this begs the question of whether or not sufficient protections were exercised for customers to stop wire fraud. another set of questions can revolve around, were any inside players aiding and abetting mf global behavior? we know that current commodity futures chairman has recused
himself from the case. mr. ginsler walked for mr. corzine at goldman sachs. the public has a right to know what point he had any reason to believe that the customer accounts at mf global might not have been intact and how did he, his agency and staff respond? day by day, hour by hour, email by email. finally, according to reuters, companies like cook industries removed billions from mf global just before it filed for bankruptcy. how did that powerful company know when to take their money out and why did my constituents not know when to take their money out? could, in fact, cook industries, have gotten the same tip-off that goldman c.e.o. had given
freddie mac and fannie mae investors a few years before. how much of mf's money was not wired rightfully, belongs to the holders of segregated accounts that were inappropriately tapped by mf global? how did my constituents get full restitution. yes, there are far too many questions, lots of questions, and far too few complete answers. yes, this congress needs to take white collar crime more seriously. who would accept the explanation when they say, i did not intend to steal. it could be $100 from the corner gas station. how can that be acceptable? rigorous investigation matters. congress needs morrow bus hearings. we need more thorough investigations. what should concern ail of us is that the financial industries,
fraud and i am prudentens, yes, addictive behavior is not limited to a case here or there. fraud has become systemic. it is indemocratic. it has harmed our nation and hurt millions of people across our country and the financial systems of other countries. in 2009, the f.b.i. testified before the house judiciary committee that the current financial crisis and i'm quoting directly, has produced one unexpected consequence, it has exposed prevalent fraud schemes that have been thriving in the global financial systems. they aren't new but hitting the economy hard and the public is hurting as a result of market deterioration. what a true statement. regrutfully, this isn't -- regretfully, this isn't the first time. indeed the crimes and addictive
behavior seems to be getting bigger and not smaller. in the 1980's, it was the savings and loan crises and f.b.i. responded with 1,000 agents and forensic experts based in 27 cities. you know how many they had over here when this started? 45. you can count them on your own hands. perpetrators wept to jail back then, but rather than this congress ignoring -- this -- the congress at that time ignored the warning of what had happened and make even a bigger green light during the 1990's to more abuse by removing the rules of the road for banking during the 1990's, example, the upending of allowing bankers and speculators to be in the same company and look at what happened.
. in 2000 the undermining of the derivative regulation by this congress led to wall street's bullish plunder that we are now experiencing again, the result of addictive behavior of the 2000's. you know, when you go back to the savings and loan crisis, that was much smaller than what we are enduring today. that is why i have a straightforward bill, h.r. 1350, the financial crisis criminal investigation act. it authorizes an additional 1,000 agents and friend si sick experts for the white and forensic experts to investigate and prosecute these financial crimes. i encourage all of my colleagues to join me as a co-sponsor. the bureau does not have anywhere near the resources it needs to take on crimes of this magnitude and dimension.
congress has long debated what level of regulation is needed to restrain financial addicts. there should be no debate about the need to uphold the law, to recover innocent people's money, to prosecute the addicted gamblers, to set a strict standard of behavior in the financial sector so it simply never happens again so, that we can restore confidence and regular order, not insider abuse, to america's financial markets. i think this congress has an awesome responsibility to do its job. and it should not fear anyone. the committees of this house should be working overtime to probe the truth, to find the truth, to get at the truth of those who have harmed america. that have put so many millions of people out of work. where so many homes have been foreclosed that the property values of this country can't
even find their footing at this point. it's affecting capital formation, it's affecting the ability of local banks to make loans because they're not sure of what's going to happen to valuation on their books. what could be more serious than the committees of this congress doing their job? i want to commend congressman lucas of oklahoma, i want to commend congressman peterson of minnesota. wouldn't it be wonderful if they could continue their important work, but that the other committees of this congress that have responsibility for oversight, government oversight and reform, the judiciary committee, the financial services committee, the energy and commerce committee, were actually to do the work that needs to be done, to put this country's banking and financial system back in a decent position with prudent rules and to finally quash the addictive behavior that has brought our country to this very dangerous point? mr. speaker, i thank you very
much for the time this evening. i thank my colleagues and those who are listening and i yield back my remaining time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the house stands in recess subject to the call of the chair. >> the final blow was 283-136. -- the final vote.
the measure now moves to the senate. the house returns thursday at noon for legislative work, and before the week is over, we expect continued work on 2012 federal spending. current funding expires this friday. you can follow the house live here on c-span when members return tomorrow. >> next, house speaker john boehner sits down for an interview with politico. then president obama marks the u.s. troop withdrawal from iraq with a visit to fort bragg, north carolina. later, senator john mccain on iraq. later, the head of the nuclear regulatory commission is asked about his management style and the treatment of staff. >> for the past few months on c- span, we have examined the political allies of the contenders, 40 men who vied for the office of president, but lost, but had a lasting impact on american politics. we'll talk with history
professor gene becker and professional -- presidential historian john norton smith. to watch additional video and review all the episodes, visit c-span.org/thecontenders. >> up next, a discussion with house speaker john boehner. he talks about congress's agenda before it goes on as winter recess, and his relationship with president obama. speaker boehner is interviewed by mike allen of politico. we will also hear from jack sherman at this 50-minute event. >> good morning, welcome to
"playbook breakfast." we start today with a first for a politico's "playbook breakfast." it turns out we have a matchmaking function. they met at a political breakfast and have been dating ever since. we appreciate your joining us. we have had a bunch of great guests, secretary governor, -- secretary geithner, sent -- center warner, chairman rogers, center rubio, and we are very excited to have you here.
for the final playbook breakfast of the year, we will have speaker john boehner. first we have been jake sherman of politico to help us look back. [applause] before i start to pummel him with questions, i would like to thank bank of america for their continued partnership with us. that have led us mix politics, personality, and bank of america has been a sponsor of all of 2011 and they will support us in 2012, so we are grateful for that. [applause] reminding about the hash tag playbook practice. you grew up in connecticut. you read the editor of the george washington hatchet.
you came to politico in 2009. tell us about speaker boehner. >> it is constantly fascinating, especially this year where we have had these fits and starts and pauses and dashes to the finish line. speaker boehner is an interesting character to cover. he interacts with the press and is very friendly with the press. >> i heard that he will critique what you wear. >> absolutely. whenever i need a haircut, he reminds me i need a haircut. today i hope he does not say that. one time i shave my head and he did not appreciate that. sometimes it is ties, or if you are wearing an old jacket, he is someone who pays attention to details.
>> you talk about these cliffhanger endings. part of what makes people hate washington -- but reporters are great. >> congress has a 9% approval rating, but historians are always much higher than that. there are meetings in rooms with members where people are always upset with what leadership is doing, and no one can ever get it right until the last moment. even at the last moment, people are upset with the outcome. it is constantly fascinating, and this year has been a dream to cover. >> what day are you going to go home? >> i don't know. speaker boehner might be able to answer that. >> it could be friday. the house has passed this payroll package that extends jobless benefits and the medicare reimbursement rate and
the senate has to be the next entity to move. it will do so in the next day or two. basically, at this point, the government could shut down because of the payroll tax provision, which is a completely separate provision. democrats in the senate are saying we will not fund the government to we come to some agreement on how to extend the payroll tax holiday. >> the thing that really could happen? -- do you think that really could happen? >> it is unlikely that they would at the end of 2011, after avoiding it for this entire time. but it is entirely possible. the path forward right now is kind of unclear. >> which of these threats came closest to being true? was there ever a time this year
when something really could have happened? >> every single time. the government shutdown is the most real. the default on the debt was always kind of a vague idea. there were things to do to get around it. when the government shuts down and president obama says you will not be able to go to the lincoln memorial or get your social security check, that hit home with most people. but they are all real. we are in a town where a lot of people are employed by the federal government, so that is a very real threat to folks who work at jobs on capitol hill and around town. >> if you could know anything about congress that you don't, what would you like to know? >> one of my editors always ask me, if you put someone in a room
on truth serum, what would they say? that is a constantly fascinating thing to me. >> republicans, do they agree with the hundreds of economists around the country that state revenues need to increase? especially now with the tea party dependent on capitol hill, and the democrats think entitlements should be the same? that is the battle we have been fighting all year. there is a huge deficit. i think that is constantly an endlessly fascinating. >> after hours or when they are not on camera, when they let down their hair and they are having a drink, do they acknowledge some of the things you are saying here?
do they admit that this is sometimes like wrestling? >> they have dipped their toe in the pool of maybe we should consider revenue. then they go back on to their beach chair. a lot of these guys are political animals, like all of you guys who are here to see speaker boehner. they know what the upper hand is. that is what drives them a lot of the time. that is how they live their political life and their policy life is the next election. that is the cycle we are in, obviously. they know this is a big game. >> don't break any confidences, but give us an example. do people more and more admit
the obvious? >> saxby chambliss joined with a bunch of democrats and a bunch of republicans. there are 47 of them who said we have to do something about the deficit problem. that was pretty much untenable in the house of representatives. there are times when people say, we know we have to get out of this mess. we know it needs to be solved, we just don't have the courage to do it. that would be the truth serum statement. >> you had a rapid rise from the george washington patch it to "the wall street journal." you have covered speaker pelosi and speaker boehner. what is the difference? >> what gets lost in the caricatures of both those people is that speaker pelosi is not the liberal everyone thinks she is. her father and brother were both baltimore politicians. the interesting thing about
speaker boehner is a he always says what you see is what you get with me. he is very methodical. things always start at a certain place. he knows where he wants to end up. you could go through turbulence in between. >> you said -- he said he was going to have things go through committees. what is the real reason he does that? >> i think he is somebody who sees himself as a steward of the institution. what is interesting about him is he came up in an age of compromise. he did pension reform, education reform. we see stuff like that happening now? >> the bulk of the 242 republicans, this week they
tried to pass jobless benefits and extend a payroll tax holiday. just to get them there, they had to include a provision to build a pipeline and roll back environmental regulations. to extent -- to a lesser extent that speaker boehner was able to do when he was chairman, when he was in the rank and file. he grew up in a different time. >> here is my theory. they like having this partisan divide. they like having it be this way, even though the country doesn't. is that possible? >> i think they do. i think they just really think that obama is wrong and they are right. jim jordan, chairman of the republican study committee said the democrats are all over this. obama does not like the keystone
pipeline, so that makes me like it much more. i think that is an honest statement. actually, i think a lot of people in republican leadership will admit that what got them -- they oppose the payroll tax holiday for a while. what got them around to it at the end was this package that was filled with trees, and the keystone pipeline. that is what got them jazzed up in the end. that is what got them riled up. speaker boehner said i want to hundred 42 of you to vote for this. he was really jazzed up about it. >> one of the paulino terms that i love -- lingo terms they talked about is moving product. the president is not going to buy that product, so what is the point? >> many of these folks have not
been in government before, so when speaker boehner says this is our package, and then in the week, he might have to compromise with harry reid and president obama, they are like, wait, i thought that was our package. >> the freshman class has turned out to be more or less conservative than we thought? stronger or weaker than we thought? >> one of the things republican leadership has done pretty well is mold their agenda in they do things a around this class. they have been neutralized in a sense. they have grown up a little bit in the process. there is a great story about allen west, who was a two-party favorite from florida, republican. he told me i am going to hold john boehner speak to the fire.
-- john boehner's feet to the fire. when he got here, he was like, maybe we should not shut down the government. less of a factor in that way, but more of a factor in this instep this huge appropriations bill is being held up because republican leadership has to throw all these sweeteners. >> we know some of the ways that former leadership bought them off. what are some of the under the table ways that leadership has tried to amp down the party? >> >> the outreach is a lot more than it used to be. that put them in press conferences and make sure they are out there. they make sure they are comfortable.
they cannot legally safe if you do this, i will raise money for you. >> they cannot say explicitly, but there are ways. >> some of these folks are going to be in the primaries. during every single debate, there is a pure guys that they go to who have the temperature of the whole thing. tom reid of upstate new york is one of them. they know where the bodies are buried. their aides always say these guys have a problem, we have a larger problem. >> a house democrat, house speaker and an emerging leader whose name we may not know who does not get much coverage, who
you think will be big in years to come? >> peter rock from illinois, the chief deputy whip. he came in in 2006 in a race that rahm emanuel labored hard to win, the string district -- swank district in illinois. here we are five years later, and he has over the $5 million in the bank. there are a lot of freshmen who were going to rise up. tom reid is definitely someone to keep an eye on. a lot will be clear after the election on who has the staying power. house democrats are in a different situation because a lot of the leadership is a little older than the republican leadership. the founder of blue mountain on-
line cards is someone that leadership loves. peter welch of vermont is definitely a rising star. >> is there anyone who is poor in congress? >> yes, out of the freshmen, there are people who are first- time politicians. >> what is the deal with living in their offices? do they still do that? >> they blowup a cot every night and sleep in the office. [applause] >> angelique is going to be joining us for the questions when speaker boehner joins us --
jake is going to be joining us for questions with speaker boehner. we will have the speaker here in just a few seconds. who would like us to try to get as a guest for "playbook breakfast"? mr. speaker, good morning. thank you very much for coming. sherman told me that you will probably critique what i wear. i got a tie just for you. what do you think? >> it looks pretty good. you have the christmas spirit going. it all matches. that is really saying something for a reporter in this town. [laughter]
>> this year was a turning point. this year, more than ever, people in america think the process is broken. more and more members will say publicly that washington is broken. you are the speaker. how much responsibility are you willing to take for that? >> there are really big issues that citizens are concerned about. they are concerned about the economy, jobs, the future for their kids and grandkids. as a result, this debate that happens in our country, but sooner or later it all ends up in washington d.c. a lot of these discussions are really pretty painful. we are talking about real change. >> this is not the first time in 200 years that painful issues have come to washington. >> i understand that. but when you talk about the scale of change, it is different than what i have seen in the 21 years i have been here.
>> how is it different? >> when you begin to look at our debt crisis, people have focused more on it this year than any year i have been here. for the first time in my 21 years here, there has been a serious conversation about dealing with the entitlement crisis. >> there has been conversation, but there has not been serious action. >> howdy save social security, medicare, medicaid? these are important programs, but they are unsustainable in their current form. we should begin to discuss these. it is change. the country is probably more divided than it has ever been. i am not surprised that the american people are not thrilled with washington, d.c. >> it sounds like you are taking no responsibility for it. >> i am just a regular guy with a big job. my job is to listen to the american people, work with my
colleagues to do what the american people sent us here to do. if you are looking for the most significant change that has occurred this year, clearly it is all about spending. up until a year ago, the discussion was, how much more can washington spend? how much more on this program, that program. corporate welfare, give away programs. the discussion of this year has been about how much we are going to reduce spending. and we inherited a budget halfway through the year, reduced spending in the last fiscal year. we would just be spending again this fiscal year. >> one we have done that is by eliminating earmarks. you said you were going to zero out in remarks. how have you made that stick? >> almost six years ago when i got into a race for majority leader, i began a more serious effort on this process of your
marks. it was probably not the smartest thing to do in the middle of a leadership election. but it worked. i have never backed away from it. i have never done here marks in the 21 years i have been here. i thought that it corrupted the process. i believed that they had to go. we have been through a whole year with no your marks. we have a big spending bill about to be passed, know your marks. it is something i believe in. it has certainly made my job harder, but it is the right thing for the country. >> we have yet another cliffhanger at the end of the year. when will your people go home for christmas? >> as soon as possible. >> that is not going to be friday, right? >> i don't think anybody knows how this is going to play out over the course of this week or next week.
i think it is important that we finish our work and get members home. the house is active on the jobs bill. really, the president has no serious objections with it. it may not be quite the way they would put it together, but there are democrat ideas, republican ideas, and while we have our -- and while we have our different beliefs, the american people expect us to move the ball down the field. it is time for the united states senate to act. it my house colleagues, democrats and republicans, have heard all, and more, about why the senate cannot do this or that. guess what, it is time for the u.s. senate to act, and they are going to act.
we can sit here and stare each other in the face for as long as it takes, but they are going to act. >> let's talk a little bit about the sweeteners that are being used to get your colleagues to go along with some of the -- the keystone pipeline being a notable one. >> stop. the premise of your question, to put these sweeteners in there. the president and republicans have focused on jobs. you want to look at those things that will help create jobs and help create them immediately. the keystone pipeline could be no better example. the president has said that the american people cannot wait. guess what, they cannot wait. then the secretary of state said, well, this keystone issue
in this bill creates an arbitrary deadline. the only thing that is arbitrary about the deadline is the president deciding, well, i don't really want to decide this until after the next election. we have had three years of studies. everything is done. everybody knows it is going to be approved. why don't we do it? thousands of americans will we put to work. and another 100,000 that will be affected indirectly. it is all about jobs. >> an objection on your side in the proposal in the manila -- the millionaires' tax, has been that it will hurt small business. it went to the senate republican leadership on the house republican leadership. they could not find a small business that would be hurt by the millionaire's surtax. have you found one? >> i used to be a small businessman.
i ran a small business. i paid my business taxes as an individual. i know exactly how those worked. it i could rattle off a half a dozen names right here and now. i am not privy to their tax returns, but i have a pretty good idea. >> just name a couple. and >> i have a handful of companies in my district, who run smallne businesses and pay taxes personally. you want to tax those people? almost half of the so-called millionaire's in america are small-business people who have not -- to happen to pay their taxes on their personal tax return. if you ask them to pay more money it will mean less investment back into their business. at a time when we are looking for more jobs. i know who these people are.
>> who is your favorite democrat? >> i do not know if there is one they were democrat. van dorn is probably pretty close. we have been very close friends. i'm very sad that he is leaving. a good guy who i think is very good for the institution. i have been around town for a while and i'm sure there are some people out there that do not like me, but i get along with members on both sides of the aisle very well. >> to test that, i want you to say something nice about leader nancy pelosi, something nice about leader harry reid, and you cannot mention their families. [laughter] >> in the case of leader nancy pelosi, we are actually have a very good relationship. >> would she say that? >> i think she would. we do not agree on policies, but
as leaders together over the last five years, we have got a lot of institutional issues that we have to work on together. whether it is campus security, the page program -- i have a long list. >> those are not pressing issues of our time. >> i understand that, but you asked me about my relationship with her. it is very good. on the policy side we have very different beliefs. i do not want to ruin our relationship talking about those things that we might disagree on. just so you understand. senator reid and i understand each other pretty well. we are open with each other, honest with each other. he has a job to do. i have a job to do. i think it is important for the leaders to have some kind of relationship. because again, while he has much different challenges than what i have -- i have my set of challenges -- we have to find a
way to grease the skids to make the process work together. senator reid.ont >> as in new year's resolution, are you going to do that better next year? >> i will maintain my good relationship with both my democratic colleagues. >> let's talk about next year. we understand you are going to keep your foot on the gas with jobs. tell us something you will pass next year that the president will sign. >> we have announced this, but we are going to move an energy infrastructure bill. one of our infrastructure problems that america is the lack of a funding source. we spent five years stumbling around this issue, maybe seven or eight issues, trying to find a way not to pay for america's aging -- trying to find a way to
pay for america's aging infrastructure. at a time when people are asking the question, where are the jobs, we will focus on into a structure to put more americans to work. we will also generate more oil revenues. oil and gas revenues, which i believe can be a very good source of revenue to pay for infrastructure. >> something the president will not sign, but that you will believe -- that you believe will make the biggest difference in costs and jobs. if you had a magic wand? >> i would create a regulatory moratorium for all of next year. the regulatory climate coming out of washington is gearing of her body to death. if i'm going to make an investment in america, i want to know what the rules are going to be. nobody can plan today because
every agency of the federal government is in overdrive, producing new rules, new regulations that are getting in the way of our economy. >> in an election year is tough to pass this stuff. what is your personal agenda? >> i do believe our energy infrastructure bill is important for the country. it will help create jobs. and bring some certainty to an industry that has been battered over the last several years. >> feddis 1. what else? >> if i had my wish list -- that is one. it's what else? >> if i had my wish list, i would like to pass a large debt reduction bill. our debt hangs over the economy and over the american people like a wet blanket. if you want to give people more confidence in america, if you want to give people more confidence in our ability to create jobs, dealing with the
$15 trillion debt that is hanging out there and the debt that is coming at us, it has to be dealt with. >> how would you do that in this debt reduction bill, this fantasy bill? >> we have dealt with the discretionary side. not that there is not more to cut on the discretionary side. there are some things there that can be dealt with. i think making sure that medicare, social security, and medicaid are sustainable for long term is critically important. >> president obama, you feel like -- president obama. you feel like you have been speaker for almost a year -- you feel closer to president obama or more distant from him? no. i think i feel closer to the president today than a year ago -- >> i think i feel closer to the president today than a year ago. we have talked a sufficient amount of time. we are very different people. but we have very different
beliefs about what the appropriate role of the federal government is, but we get along very well. >> what have you learned about how to work with him? what is he like behind the scenes? >> i work with the president like i work with anybody else in this town, up front, straightforward, no games, no gimmicks. that is the way i do business. >> what do you regret about your relationship with the president? >> regret -- i think my biggest regret of the year is that the president and i were unable to come to an agreement on raising the debt limit and taking a serious bite out of our debt. i have spent more time working on that this year than any other issue. >> it is fine to regret it. is there something that you would have changed? or do you wish you would have pushed harder with your own people to get the $4 trillion? >> i do not have an issue with
my people. we never got that far. the president would never say yes to sirius entitlement reform. >> which your people would not go for. >> we never got that far. i told the president right up front that i would put revenue on the table, but only if you are willing to make serious changes in our entitlement programs, serious reductions in spending. unfortunately, i never could get him to the point where he would say yes. >> it is totally his fault. you do not bear any responsibility? >> i regret that we did not come to an agreement. you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink it. >> un the president be to the vice-president and ohio gov. john kasich in golf.
-- you and the president beat the vice president and ohio gov. john cage. -- john kasich. >> the president told me he was going to play golf with the vice-president and asked me to join and bring somebody with me. all of you who have dealt with john cage -- john kasich note what he is like. i said, calmed down. i said, listen, they will be far more nervous about this and we are. i said, just relax. i hear biden has been out there hitting balls for an hour. we get out to andrews air force base and here is the vice president. he is sopping wet.
he had been out there pounding balls. we hit a few balls. and somebody gave the president some pretty good advice. i'm not sure who it was, but it was very good advice. we hit quite a few before we go out. and the president said, all right, banner, you and i are going to take these two on. i thought john kasich was going to cry. [laughter] and we whipped them pretty good. but it was just off. -- and just golf. >> what about the payroll package? what is one thing in this package that we will see this week at he would be willing to let go of. -- to let go of? >> the house has acted on the
jobs bill. it is time for the senate to act. when the senate acts, they can take our bill and pass it. they can amend it. they can pass their own bill. but it is time for the senate to do their job. >> you already said that. ask him something else. >> i got up early. i shaved. >> you look pretty good. but i've never seen you look this good. >> thank you. i tried. >> if you do not hang around the capitol press corps, there are some colorful characters. and this guy, jake, some days he's got no hair. some days he's got too much hair. he has never looked this good in his life. [laughter] >> set the record straight on speaker gingrich. did you ever produced paid in any conversation about efforts to overthrow him -- participate in any conversations about
efforts to overthrow him that when he was speaker? >> there were conversations that i overheard. it is interesting that this became fact. i never participated in any attempt to overthrow the speaker of the house, not once. obviously, something happened that fateful night. but i remember leaving the floor that night. no one is invited me to a meeting, thank goodness. >> did you give advice to the coup plotters? >> i did not. in fact, i did not have any idea. >> but you got blamed. >> yes, i did. >> and you lost your leadership spot. >> i'm not sure if it was over that issue, but it was a very difficult time. >> what did you learn from leader gingrich's style, for better or for worse, that has helped you? >> we were friends and he helped
prepare me to be the republican leader. >> you were not good friend. >> we were and we still are. >> when was the last time you talk to him? >> several weeks ago. i ran his campaign to be the republican leader. it turned out to be erasethe rar speaker. we work very closely together. again, very different backgrounds, very different styles. and we come from different places. running my business give me a lot of background and experience in terms of managing an organization, at in terms of managing people, building 18, going after goals. -- building a team, going after goals. >> what was he like to work
with? >> i would have a hard time finding someone that i felt was more intelligent, smarter than newt gingrich. i have never seen anyone think outside the box as well as he can. he is a big thinker. but like all big thinkers, they have some good ideas and then they have some other ideas. >> and he have had a few of those -- he has had a few of those. >> oh, yes. >> is the conservative -- is teeth conservative enough for you? but i'm not sure if he is as conservative as people -- >> i'm not sure if he is as conservative as people think he is, but he is conservative. >> do you think he would be a good candidate? >> we have a lot of good candidates out there and i'm sure the primary voters will select a good one. whoever it is, i will support him.
i think the president is going to have to defend his record when it comes to the economy. unemployment will still exceed -- the president said that when he passed this bill unemployment will not exceed 8% and it will create jobs. it has not happened. if he does not begin to work with republicans on capitol hill to move the economy forward and get americans back to work, he will have a very difficult time getting reelected. >> what about ohio? >> it is ohio. i live there. i have spent 62 years there. i think our candidates has a very good opportunity. i think the president has got to go out and defend his record
with regard to the economy. and he cannot blame anybody else. he cannot blame george bush. the economy will be the number- one issue on the minds of americans. and i do not think that most americans feel the president's policies have helped our economy. >> how much? have you given to operate in the house if you have a republican -- how much thought to have you given to operating the house if you have a republican president? >> i have not thought of it much. i have been trying to build my colleagues and deal with the concerns of the american people. >> one of your big legacies will be how you promote and nurture this big freshman class. for now you have to keep them happy and deal with their dispute, but what have you been doing to bring them along? >> the first couple of months that we were all in office, somebody had the idea that we should sit down and meet with the freshmen for about an hour. i we decided to do it every
week. every week that we have been in session we have -- corrects a source says we have -- you have been eating lunch with them. >> we sit down and answer their questions, provide a tutorial on the budget process, the appropriations process. we have 89 freshmen. they have been tree baptism of fire. -- through a baptism of fire. it was not the usual wait for the president's budget. they took office and we had to pass a continuing resolution to balance for the fiscal year. as soon as that was over we were in a budget fight. as soon as that was over we were in a debt limit fight. it has been a difficult year for them. and frankly, they have done pretty good. >> who is emerging as a leader in that class? >> there are a lot of good members in that class. a lot of leaders. to pick out one of them is not
fair to the other 88. >> have they turned out to be more of a headache than you thought, or less? >> they have not been an issue out of. >> but as a surprise. >> everybody thinks that we are having problem this with all of these new freshmen. no, we have worked with them up front and in an honest way. i could not have a better relationship with them. a few senior members who do not believe in anything differently than i do have said things, but they want it all done now, right now. i want it all done now, too, but it has been a big year. >> one of your big challenges has been convincing your colleagues to do things step-by- step as opposed to having a revolution in january or march. >> when you only control one- third -- or one-half of one- third of the government, you
have to be realistic about what you can accomplish. at i wish we had a republican controlled senate and a republican in the white house, but we do not. i am not a big believer in setting back and throwing him mary passes every day. it makes people feel good for a few seconds, but you never move the ball down the field. our job is to move the ball down the field. >> you have managed to be a pretty aggressive speaker without becoming a political celebrity in the way so many other people have. we see you are around town in restaurants and bars. how do you do that? >> i am just being myself. i am a regular guy with a big job. i said when i took the speaker's position that this was never going to be about me. >> your title is the speaker.
it's my job is to listen and to be a humble servant -- >> my job is to listen and to be a humble servant. i decided long time ago that i was going to be me. sometimes-staff gets nervous but i am too much -- sometimes my staff gets nervous that i am too much meat. i like to go to dinner with my boys. i like to talk to people at restaurants. airports. maybe even a golf course or two. it is a great way to stay in touch with the american people because i talk to all of them. >> what is the good and bad of being you? >> the good part about being me is that i don't -- i don't do stress. i did that a long time ago. i just don't do it. i get up every day and i give it my best. i work hard.
i will work longer than anybody else. i will do all of that, but at the end of the day, you cannot force an outcome, especially in this process. our freshmen over the last couple of weeks have been in this crowd she mood. about a week ago i had to go in and reset the table. and has been a long year. members are tired and they're looking at christmas and wondering why we are still here. managing those expectations is important. >> who is somebody that you would like to play a round of golf with that you have not? and it cannot be someone in this room. >> it certainly would not be sherman. [laughter] somebody that i like to play golf with that i have not. i do not know that the pope plays golf. [laughter] other than that, have played with almost everybody else. >> you have taken up by can. why?
>> i need a little more exercise. i used to walk, but it is not quite enough. i have not been on my bike a lot lately, so i will not take a lot of credit here. but you have got to get some exercise. >> it is better for your back? >> it is good for my back. my back is doing good. i am feeling good. >> you are an ipad guy? >> i am. >> what do you do with it? >> i hate to admit this in front of everybody here, but i turn it on every morning and i go through the mail, really quickly. i go to safari and hit my bookmarks and the first one i hit is politico. i have a long list that i read. i spend about an hour-and-a-half every morning. the great thing about the ipad is that i can go to a lot of publications and a lot of blogs quickly, easily, and i cover a lot more ground every morning
that i used to be able to cover, given the time frame house. >> what do you read for fun? >> i read biographies, histories. it has been pretty interesting. i am reading a book about our first revolution, which is really an english history. it is just kind of fascinating to me and helps put what we are doing today into a much larger perspective. >> what is something you are giving or getting for christmas? and then we are done. >> my wife's birthday was last week. >> that does not count. >> i gave her a new ipad. and unfortunately, that is probably it. >> you have got to do something else for christmas. the >> you sound like my wife. [laughter]
>> i have no idea what i'm getting for christmas. my daughter's tend to buy me personal grooming products. they have these great ideas about what i should or should not be doing. >> like what? >> i don't know. i have not gotten them yet. do toys. i go to the mall almost under arrest. you have to put a gun to my head. i go to buy something because i need it. i never go by some the because i want it. maybe it is a function of how i grew up, but i am not a big shocker. i am a buyer. >> what is the most important thing in the room -- the most important thing about succeeding. either something to do or not to do. >> i think the most important thing about success is working hard. when you work hard, you will learn a lot and others will see you. it will see your work habits.
working hard, there is no substitute for it. secondly, get along with people. most people, i would rather not be around -- there are people i would rather not be around, but i do not dislike anybody. i think having relationships with people, both sides of the aisle, it will help further your career. and thirdly, never burn a bridge. just never do it. don't ever do it because somewhere down the road if will come back and just bite you. as much as you want to throw a can of gasoline on a failed relationship, on a job that you did not like or did not like the people you work with, just do not do it. >> i appreciate the people who have joined us. thank you all for being here. thank you to the bank of america
for supporting this. speaker boehner, thank you. >> thank you. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> next month, the u.s. supreme court will hear oral arguments and a case dealing with the constitutionality of the current sec standards for indecency. the case cites a 1978 supreme court case where a new york radio station aired a canadian's george carlin "filled the words" maulana. -- "filthied words" monologue. >> it was at a time when a child could have been turning the dial and come across those words. >> the c-span will air the oral argument.
>> president obama marks the u.s. troop withdrawal from iraq and the end of the war with a visit to fort bragg, north carolina. he paid tribute to returning troops. in october, president obama officially announced the withdrawal of the troops in iraq by year's end. firstly michelle obama joined the president on the trip. [cheers and applause] >> hello, everyone! i get to start you off. i want to thank him for his -- i
want to begin by thanking general anderson for that introduction, but more importantly, his leadership here at fort bragg. i cannot tell you what a pleasure and an honor it is to be back here. i have some many wonderful memories of this place. a couple of years ago, i came here on my very first official trip as first lady. i spent a great time with some of the amazing military spouses and i visited again to help put the finishing touches on an amazing new home for a veteran and her family. so when i heard that i had the opportunity to come back and be a part of welcoming you all home, to say i was excited is an understatement. and i have to tell you, when i looked out at this crowd, i am simply overwhelmed.
i am overwhelmed and a crowd -- and proud because final level of strength -- and proud because i know the level of strength and commitment that you all display every single day. whenever this country calls, you all are the ones to answer, no matter the symptoms dance -- no matter the circumstance, no matter the danger, no matter the sacrifice. and i know you do this not to just as soldiers, not just as patriots, but as fathers and mothers, as brothers and sisters, as sons and daughters. i know that while your children and your spouses and your parents and siblings may not wear uniforms, they serve, right alongside you. [applause]
i know that your sacrifice is their sacrifice, too. so when i think of all that you do and all that your families do, i am so proud and so grateful. but more importantly, i am inspired. but like so many americans, i never feel like taken fully conveyed -- like i can convey how grateful i am because words cannot be enough. that is why i have been working so hard, along with joe biden, -- along with jill biden, on a campaign that we call joining forces. it is a campaign that we hope goes beyond words. it is a campaign that is about action. it is about rallying all americans to give you the honor, the appreciation, and the support that you have all
earned. i do not have to tell you that this has been a difficult campaign. -- this has not been a difficult campaign. americans have been lining up to show their appreciation for you and your families. businesses are hiring tens of thousands of veterans and military spouses. schools all across the country and pta's are reaching out to our military children. and individuals are serving their neighbors and their communities all over this country in your honor. so i want you to know that this nation supports -- this nation's support does not end this morning. -- as this war ends. not by a long shot. we will keep doing this. we have so much more work to do. we will keep finding new ways to serve all of you as well as you have served us.
and the men leading the way -- and the man leading the way is standing right here. [applause] he is fighting for you and your families every single day. he has helped more than a million military family members go to college using the g.i. bill. [cheers] he has cut taxes for businesses that hire a veteran or wounded warrior. and he has kept his promise to responsibly bring you home from iraq. so please join me in welcoming one of your strongest advocates, not only in words, but indeed, my president, our present, and your commander in chief -- -- my husband, our
president, and your commander in chief, barack obama. [applause] >> hello, everybody! [applause] hello, fort bragg! all the way. now, i am sure you realize why i do not like following michelle obama. she is pretty good. and it is true i am a little biased, but let me just say it. michelle, you are a remarkable first lady. you are a great advocate for military families. and you're cute. [laughter] [applause] i am just saying. know, gentlemen, that is your
goal -- to marry up. punch above your weight. fort bragg, we are here to mark an historic moment in the life of our country and our military. for nearly nine years, our nation has been at war in iraq. and you, the incredible men and women of fort bragg, have been there every step of the way, serving with honor, sacrificing greatly, from the first waves of the invasion to some of the last troops to come home. as your commander in chief and on behalf of a grateful nation, i am proud to finally say these two words -- and i know your families a great -- welcome -- your families agree.
welcome home. [applause] welcome home! welcome home! [applause] welcome home. it is great to be here at fort bragg, home of the airborne and special operations forces. i want to thank general anderson and all your outstanding leaders, including general dave rodriguez, general john mulholland, and i want to give a shout out to your outstanding senior enlisted leaders, including command sergeant major roger howard, lebaron bond, -- darren bond, perry bear, and give a big round of applause to the ground forces band. [applause] we have a lot of folks in the
house today. we have the 18th airborne corps of the sky dragon. we have the legendary all- american 82nd airborne division. [applause] we have america's quiet professionals, are special operations forces. [applause] from pope field, we have air force. [applause] and i do believe we have some navy and marine corps here, too. [laughter] [applause] and although they are not here with us today, we send our thoughts and prayers to general helmick, sergeant major rice, and all the folks from the 18th airborne and bragg who are bringing our troops back home from iraq.
[applause] we honor everyone from 82nd airborne from bragg and those serving in afghanistan and those serving around the world. let me just say that one of the most humbling moments i have had as president is when i presented our nation's highest military decoration, the medal of honor, to the parents of one of those patriots from fort bragg who gave his life in afghanistan, staff sergeant roger miller. -- robert miller. i want to salute danny rodriguez, merriam mulholland, linda anderson, melissa helmut, michelle votel and all of the inspiring people here today. [applause]
finally, i want to acknowledge your neighbors and friends who helped keep this outstanding operation going, all who helped to keep your army strong. that includes representatives mike mcintyre and dave price and bev perdue. i know that bev is so proud to have done so much for our military families. please give them a big round of applause. [applause] today, i have come to speak to you about the end of the war in iraq. over the last few months, the final work of leading iraq has been done.
-- of leaving iraq has been done. dozens of bases with american names that housed thousands of american troops have been closed down or turn over to the iraqis. thousands of tons of equipment have been packed up and shipped out. tomorrow, the colors of united states forces iraq, the colors you fought under, will be formally cased in a ceremony in baghdad. and then they will begin their journey across the notion that -- across an ocean back home. over last three years, nearly 150,000 u.s. troops have left iraq. and over the next few days, a small group of american soldiers will begin the final march out of that country. some of them are on their way back to fort bragg.
as general helmick said, they know that the less technical -- the last tactical road marched out of iraq will be a symbol and they will be a part of history. as your commander in chief, i can tell you that it will indeed be part of history. those last american troops will move south on desert sands. then they will cross the border out of iraq with their heads held high. one of the most extraordinary chapters in the history of the american military will come to an end. iraq's future will be in the hands of its people. america's war in iraq will be over. we knew this day would come. we have known it for some time. still, there is something
profound about the end of a war that has lasted so long. nine years ago, american troops were preparing to deploy to the persian gulf and the possibility that there would be sent to war. many of you were in grade school. i was a state senator. many of the leaders now governing iraq, including the prime minister, were living in exile. since then, our efforts in iraq have taken many twists and turns. it was the source of great controversy here at home with patriots on both sides of the debate. but there was one constant. there was one constant -- your patriotism, your commitment to
fulfill your mission, your abiding commitment to one another. that was constant. that did not change. that did not waver. it is harder to end the war than begin one. all of the fighting, the dying, the bleeding, the building, the training, and the partnering, all of that has led to this moment of success. iraq is not a perfect place. it has many challenges ahead. but we are leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and reliable iraq with a representative government that was elected by its people. we are building a new
partnership between our nations. and we are ending the war not with a final battle, but with a final march toward home. this is an extraordinary achievement. nearly nine years in the making. today, we remember everything you did to make it possible. we remember the early days, the american units that streaked across the skies of iraq, the battles from karbala to baghdad, breaking the back of a brutal dictator within a month. we remember the grind of the insurgencies, the roadside bombs, the suicide attempts, -- the suicide attacks, from the triangle of death to the fight for rumadi.
your will proved stronger than the terrorist who tried to break us. we remember the specter of sectarian violence, al qaeda's attacks on mosques and pilgrims, militias that carried out campaigns of intimidation and campaigns of assassination. and in the face of ancient divisions, you stood firm to help those iraqis who put their faith in the future. we remember the surge and we remember the awakening, when the abyss of chaos turned toward the promise of reconciliation. and by battling and building block-by-block in baghdad, by bringing drugs into the fold tribes into the fold and
partnering with the iraqi army and police, you helped turn the tide toward peace. and we remember the end of our combat mission and the emergence of a new dawn, the precision of our efforts against al qaeda in iraq, the professional training of the security iraqi forces. in handing over responsibility to the iraqis, you preserve the gains of the last four years and made this day possible. just last month, some of you, members of the falcon brigade --[cheers] you turned over the anbar operations over to the iraqis. in an area that once was the heart of the insurgency, a combination of fighting and trading, politics and -- training, politics and partnership, the brought the
promise of peace. this is all because of the u.s. forces' work and sacrifice. those are the words of an iraqi. hard work and sacrifice. those words only begin to describe the cost of this war and the courage of the men and women who fought it. we know too well the heavy cost of this war. more than 1.5 million americans have served in iraq. 1.5 million. over 30,000 americans have been wounded. and those are only the ones that show. nearly 4500 americans made the
ultimate sacrifice, including two hundred two fallen heroes from here at fort bragg -- 202 fallen heroes from here at fort bragg. so to the families who have lost their loved ones, we grieve with them as part of our larger american family. we also know that these numbers do not tell the full story of the iraq war. not even close. our civilians have represented our country with skill and bravery. our troops have served tour after a tour with precious little time in between. our guard and reserve units stepped up with unprecedented service. you have endured dangers foot patrols -- dangerous foot patrols and you have seen the pain of seeing friends and --
and you have endured the pain of seeing friends and comrades fall. you have had to be more than soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coastguardsman. you have also had to be diplomats, development workers, and peacemakers. through all of this, you have shown why the united states military is the finest fighting force in the history of the world. [cheers and applause] as michelle mentioned, we also know that the burden of war is also borne by your families. in countless bays communities like fort bragg, folks have come together in the absence of a loved one. as the mayor of fayette will put it, or is not a political word -- war is not a political
word here. war is where our friends and neighbors go. so there have been missed birthday parties and graduations. there are bills to pay and jobs that had to be doubled while -- had to be juggled while picking up the kids. for every soldier that goes on patrol, there are the husbands and wives, the mothers and fathers, the sons and daughters praying that the comeback. -- that they come back. so today, as we mark the end of the war, let us acknowledge, let us give a heartfelt round of applause for every military family that has carried that load over the last nine years. you too have the thanks of a grateful nation. [applause]
[applause] part of ending a war responsibly is standing by those who fought it. it is not enough to honor you with words. words are cheap. we must do it with deeds. you stood up for america. america needs to stand up for you. that is why, as your commander in chief, i am committed to make sure that you get the care and the benefits and the opportunity that you have earned. for those of you who remain in uniform, we will make sure to maintain the health of our force.
we will keep faith with you. we will help our wounded warriors to heal. and we will stand by those who suffered the unseen wounds of war. and make no mistake. as we go forth as a nation, we will keep america's armed forces the strongest fighting force the world has ever seen. that will not stop. [applause] that will not stop. [applause] but our commitment does not end when you take off the uniform. you are the finest our nation has to offer. after years of rebuilding iraq, we want to enlist our veterans in the work of rebuilding america. that is why we are committed to doing everything we can to extend more opportunities to those who have served. that includes the post-9/11 gi
bill, so you and your family can get to the education that allows you to live out your dreams. that includes a national effort to put our veterans to work. we have worked with congress to pass a tax credits so that companies have the incentive to hire bets. .- hire verts michelle has worked with the private sector to get commitments to create 100,000 jobs for those who served. and, by the way, we're doing this not just because it is the right thing to do by you. we are doing it because it is the right thing to do for america. folks like my grandfather came back from world war ii to form the backbone of this country's middle-class. for our post-9/11 veterans come up with your skill, dedication, -- for our post-911 leadership, i am confident that -- for post
9/11 veterans, with your skill, dedication, leadership, i am confident that the story of your service to america is just beginning. but there is something else that we owe you. as americans, we have a responsibility to learn from your service. i am thinking of an example. lt. shell who was based here at fort bragg. a few years ago, on a supply route outside of baghdad, he and his team were engulfed by flames from an rpg attack. covered with gasoline, he ran into the fire to help his fellow soldiers and then led them to miles back to camp victory where -- two miles back to camp victory where he finally collapsed covered with burns. when they told him he was a hero, he disagreed.
i am not a hero, he said. a hero is a sandwich. [laughter] i am a paratrooper. we can do well to learn from alvin. this country needs to learn from you. folks in washington need to learn from you. [applause] policymakers and historians will continue to analyze the strategic lessons of iraq. that is important to do. our commanders will incorporate the hard-what lessons in future won lessons in future military campaigns. that is important to do. but the most important lesson
we can take from you is not about military strategies. it is a lesson about our national character. for all of the challenges that our nation faces, you remind us that there is nothing we americans cannot do when we stick together. for all of the disagreements that we face, you remind us there is something bigger than our differences, something that makes as one nation and one people, regardless of color, regardless of creed. regardless of what part of the country we come from, regardless of what the background we come out of bed, you remind us that -- we come out of. you remind us we are one nation. that is why the u.s. military is the finest institution in our land.
because you never forget that. you cannot afford to forget that. if you forget that somebody dies, if you four get that the -- if you forget then the mission fails. you do not forget it. you have each other's backs. that is why you, the 9/11 generation, have earned your place. -- have earned your place in history. because of you, because you sacrificed so much for a people that you had never met, iraqis have the chance to forge their own destiny. that is part of what makes us special as americans. unlike the old empires, we do not make these sacrifices for territory or for resources. we do it because it is right. there can be no fuller expression of america's support
for self-determination than our leaving iraq to its people. that says something about who we are. because of you, in afghanistan, we have broken the momentum of the taliban. because of you, we have become -- we have begun the transition to the afghans that will allow us to bring home our troops from there and around the globe as we drawdown we have gone after al qaeda so that terrorists who threaten america will have no safe haven and osama bin laden will never again walk the face of this earth. [cheers and applause] so here is what i want you to know and here is what i want all our men and women in uniform to know -- because of you, we're ending these wars in a way that will make america strong and the world more secure.
because of you. that success was never guaranteed. let us remember the source of american leadership, our commitment to values written in our founding document and a unique willingness among nations to pay a great price for the progress of human freedom and dignity. this is who we are. it is what we do. as americans. together. the war in iraq will soon belong to history. your service belongs to the ages. never forget that you are part of an unbroken line appears spanning two centuries, -- an
unbroken line of heroes spanning two centuries. men and women who fought for the same principals in fallujah and kandahar and delivered justice on 9/11. looking back on the war that saved our union, a great american, oliver wendell holmes once paid tribute to those who served. in our youth, he said, our hearts were touched with fire. it was given to us to learn and to the outset that life is a profound and passionate thing. all of you here today have lived through the fires of war.
you will be remembered for it. you will be honored for it. always. you have done something profound with your lives. when this nation went to war, you signed up to serve. when times were tough, you kept fighting. when there was no end in sight, you found light in the darkness. years from now, your legacy will endure in the names of your fallen comrades etched on the headstones at arlington and memorials across our country. as you whisper words of admiration when you march in parades and in the freedom of our children and our grandchildren. and in the quiet tonight, you will recall that your heart was once touched by fire. you will know that you answered when your country called.
you served a cause greater than yourselves. you helped forge the safety of iraq. i cannot be prouder of you. america cannot be properly. god bless you all and god bless the united states of america. [applause] ♪ ♪ [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
mr. president, today, the president traveled to fort bragg, north carolina, to mark the end of the war in iraq, and to pay tribute to the more than 1.5 million men and women of our armed forces who have served and fought there since 2003. those americans deserve all of the praise and recognition they receive. for they have given up their comfort and safety. they've given up less demanding and more lucrative jobs. they've given parts of their bodies and cherished parts of their lives. they've given the quiet little sacrifices that often go unmentioned but often hurt the most. the anniversaries spent alone. the birth of a child missed. the first steps not seen and the first words not hrd. they've given all of that. in all ways they are prepared to give more.
they deserveo be honored by us all. i know that the president's words of praise and appreciation for our troops today were sincere and heartfelt. and i have every reason to believe le do all in his power to keep his promises to take care of our troops and their families here at home and to never forget how those noble americans have done far more than their fair share for the betterment of our nation. the president is a patriot and a good american and i know that his heart swells the same pride and sense of awe that you will s feel when we are in the presence of our men and women in uniform. these are humbling feelings. feelings of wonderment and gratitude. and they unite all americans, whether you supported the war in iraq or not. but let me point out a fact that the president did not acknowledge today which is this.
our men and women in uniform have been able to come home from iraq by the tens of thousands over the past three years and not just come home but come home with honor, having succeeded in their mission, for the simple reason that the surge worked. all of this is possible because in 2007, with the war nearly lo we changed our strategy, changed our leaders in the field and sent more troops. this policy was vehemently opposed at the time by then-senator obama and now the president of the united states and his senior leaders right here on the floor of this senate. on january 10, 2007, the day the surge strategy w announced, then-senator obama said -- quote -- "i am not persuaded
that 20,000 additional troops in iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. in fact, i think it will do the reverse." on november 15, 2007, when it was clear to general david patent system trapetraeusand amd many of us that the surge was working, then-senator oh bammer said -- and i quote -- "the overall strategy has failed because we have not seen any change in behavior among iraq's political leaders." finally, on january 28, 2008, when it was undeniable the surge was succeeding, he had this to say. "president bush said that the surge in iraq is working and we know that's just not true." at the time, the president's
preferred alternative was to begin an immediate withdrawal and have all u.s. troops out of iraq by the end of 2009. i'll let future historians be the judge of that proposed policy. all i will say is that for three years, the president has been harvesting the successes of the very strategy that he consistently dismissed as a failure. i imagine this irony was not lost on a few of o troops at fort bragg today, most of whom deployed and fought as part of the surge. the fact is, the president has consistently called for a complete withdrawal of all u.s. troops from iraq at the earliest possible date and he has never deviated from this position as president. indeed, he has always reaffirmed his campaign promise to end the war in iraq and withdrawal all of our troops. so perhaps it should not have
come as a surprise when the president announced in october that he was ending negotiations with the iraqi government over whether to maintain a small number of u.s. troops in iraq beyond this year to continue assisting iraq's security forces. i continue to believe that this decision represents a failure of leadership, both iraqi and american, that it was a sad case of political expediency triumphing military necessity, both in baghdad and in washington. and that it will have serious, serious negative consequences for iraq's stability and our national security interests. i sincerely hope that i am wrong but i fear that general jack keen, who was one of the mai architects of the surge, could be correct again when he said recently -- and i quote -- "we won the war in iraq and we're
now losing the peace." let me be clear. like all americans, i, too, am eager to bring our troops home. i do not want them to remain in iraq or anywhere else for a day longer than necessary. but i also agree with our military commanders in iraq, who are nearly unimous in their belief that some u.s. forces, approximately 20,000, should remain for a period of time to help the iraqis secure the hard-earned gains that we had made together. all of our top commanders in iraq -- by the way, chosen by the president of the united states -- all of our top commanders in iraq, general petraeus, general odierno, general austin, all of them believed that we needed to maintain a presence of u.s. troops there and they consistently made clear to many of us during our repeated visits to iraq. on february 3, the commander of
u.s. forces in iraq, general lloyd austin, and u.s. ambassador to iraq, jim jeffrey, testified to the coarmed services -- committee on armed services that for all the progress the iraqi security forces had made in recent years -- and it's been substantial -- they still have critical gaps in their capabilies that will endure beyond this year. those shortcomings including enabling functions for counterterrorism operations, the control of iraq's airspace and other external secity missions, intelligence collection and fusion, and training and sustainment of the force. our commanders wanted u.s. troops to remain in iraq beyond this year to continue assisting iraqi forces in filling these gaps in their capabilities. indeed, iraqi commanders believe the exact same thing. in august, the chief of staff of iraq's armed forces could not have been any clearer.
he said -- i quote -- "the problem will start after 2011," he said. "the politicians must find other ways to fill the void after 20 2011. if i were asked about the withdrawal," he stated, "i would say to politicians, the u.s. army must stay until the iraqi army is fully ready in 2020." during repeated travels to iraq with my colleagues, i have met with all of the leade of iraq's major political blocks and they, too, said they would support keeping a presence of u.s. troops in iraq. so let's be clear. this is not what our commanders recommended. it is what iraqi commanders recommended and it is what all of iraq's key political leaders said privately that they were prepared to support. so what happened? what happened?
advocates of withdrawal are quick to point out that the current security arrangement which requires all u.s. troops to be out of iraq by the end of this year was concluded by the bush administration and that is true. but it's also beside the point. the authors of that agreement always intended for it to be renegotiated at a later date to allow some u.s. forces to remain in iraq. as former secretary of state condoleezza rice, whose state department team negotiated the security agreement, has said -- quote -- "there was an expectation that we would negotiate something that looked like a residual force for our training witthe iraqis." she stated, "everybody belied it would be better if there was some kind of residual force." so if that's not the region -- if that's not the reason, i ask again, what happened? the prevailing narrative is that
the u.s. and iraqi leaders could not reach agreement over the legal protections needed to keep our troops in iraq. to be sure, this was a matter of vital importance. but while this may have been a reason for our failure, the privileges and immunities issues is less a cause than a symptom of the larger reason why we could not reach agreement with the iraqis. because of his political promise to fully withdraw from iraq, the president never brought the full weight of his office to bear in shaping the politics and the events on the ground in iraq so as toecure a residual presence of u.s. troops. this left our cmanders and our negotiators in baghdad mostly trying to respond to events in iraq, trying to shape events without the full influence of the american president behind them. last may i traveled to iraq with
the senator from south carolina, senators graham. we met with all of the major iraqi leaders and all of them were ready to come t an agreement on a future presence of u.s. troops in iraq. but as prime minter malaki explained to us, the administration at that time and for the foreseeable future had not given the iraqi government the number of troops and missions it would propose to keep in iraq. for weeks after, the administration failed to make a proposal to the iraqis, and when the iraqis finally united together in august and publicly asked the administration to begin associatis, the response from washington was again characterized by delay. this ensured that a serious negotiation could not begin much less succeed. i novak is a soveign country. i know it has an elected government that must answer to
public opinion. and i know thereould be no agreement over a future u.s. military presence in iraq if iraqis did not agree to it and build support for it. so this is as much a failure of iraqi leadership as it is of american leadership, but to blame this on the iraqis does not excuse the fact that we had an enormous amount of influence with iraq's leaders and we did not exercise it to the fullest extent possible to achieve an outcome that was in our national security interest. in fact, in the view of many, they deliberately refused to come up with a number. they deliberately refused to engage in serious negotiation with the iraqis, with the timate purpose of fulfilling the president's campaign pledge that he would get all troops, united states troops out of iraq. that's not a violation of sovereignty. that's diplomacy. that's leadership.
leaders must shape events and public opinion, not just respond to them. starting in early 2009, with their desire to accelerate their withdrawal from iraq faster than our commanders to our hands-off approach of government formation last year to their record of delay in passivity on the question of maintaining a presence of u.s. troops beyond this year, this administration has consistently failed at the highest level to lead on iraq. i say again, perhaps ts outcome should not have been a surprise. it's what theresident has consistently promised to do, and that decision makes good political sense for this president. such decisions should not be determined by domestic politics. e brave americans who fought so valiantly and given so much
did so not for political reasons but for the safety and security of their fellow citizens, for their friends, for their families, for their children's futures and for us. this is a decisive moment in the history of america's relationship with iraq and with all of the countries of the broader middle east. this is a moment when the substaial influence that we have long enjoyed in that part of the world could be receding, in fact, is receding. we cannot allow that to be our nation's future. we must continue to lead. we must not let short-term political gains dictate our longer term goals. we need to continue to shape a freer, more just and more secure future both for iraq and for the peoples across the middle east, because it is in our own national security interests to do so. over 4,000 brave young americans gave the lives in this conflict. i hope and i pray that these
decisions made in large reason, in large part for pitical reasons. i pray that their sacrifice is not in vain. i hope that their families will not mourn the day that their sons and daughters went out to fight for freedom for the iraqi people. unfortunately, unfortunately, it is clear that this decision of a complete pullout ounited states troops from iraq was dictated by politics and not our national security interests. i believe that history will judge this president's leadership with scorn and disdai -- with the scorn and disdain that it deserves. >> members testified before ed
oversight hearing about allegations of mismanagement by the chairman. this is next. then an interview with john gainer. >> congress has a number of items it wants to finish including federal spending for 2012. we will talk with him himes -- jim himes. then we will talk to bill cassidy he has a medical degree. ilyn geewax.yl
>> good morning. this committee will come to order. the oversight committee exist to secure to fundamental principles. americans have the right to know what they get from the money washington takes from them and that is well spent. americans deserve an effective government that works for them. our duty is to protect these rights. our responsibility is to hold government accountable to taxpayers.
taxpayers have a right to know what did they get from their government. we will work tirelessly to deliver the facts to the american people and bring genuine reform to the bureaucracy. today we have a distinguished panel. today we will hear from five commissioners and what i believe will be an extraordinary hearing. it is one in which the independent commission that americans rely on to inshore that we have safe -- ensure that
we have safe and reliable nuclear power. it has become a concern to this committee that the commission is not operating in way that they can continue. i will not prejudge any one's motive. i will not prejudge anyone's testimony. i am deeply concerned that the commission is not an autocratic agency or the office of any one person. for a commission to work successfully or any agency that has a board, whether it is the transportation board or a host of others we rely on for safety, it has to be by consensus. doing the basic of arithmetic, this is a three democrats and two republican commission. if it were any other
combination, it should work like the census. the history of this commission has been generally to work by the consensus or near consensus. did the committee will examine whether under current commissioners encourage structure the commission can give back working on a consensus like basis. all five if you are charged with the same level of responsibility and the same obligation to sound science and safety. on a personal note, i havetw two active reactors in in district. everyday we ask "is it safe?" everyday we ask "could it be safer?" we want that answer to always be "yes."
we will hear from members and then our witnesses. i think he would hear that all of us have the same concerns. one of them has been active for many years. whether you have nuclear power or not, we understand that if all our plans went down in america, the bites would go out. there is not sufficient to replace a today. ment power as we hear form all of you, i ntend each of you to deliver your fault opening statements. and additional remarks if they are beyond your statement. i intended to be very, very , very willing to hear you get a complete answer. that is not to hear that members minutes and 59ute
seconds and find a question. i want to hear from each of you. this is not one in which anyone of you on the dais has the capability to take the seat he occupied. we have to rely on this to know whether or not the commission can operate at the level that is essential if we're going to have safe nuclear power. with that and recognize the ranking member. >> thank you. four reactors were down. this was the worst nuclear disaster since chernobyl 25 years earlier.
our number-one priority must be insuring that we learned the lessons and take appropriate action to improve the safety of nuclear power plants in country. yesterday a union made a statement employing our committee to focus on today's hearing. he urged the committee to focus on the safety issues facing u.s. reactors rather than on our rc internal squabbling. let me say this on behalf of the american people. i asked that, you too chairman jaczko, that you not allow your disagreements to become the enemy of this great organization. i also ask that you not allow
the squabbling to have the effect of being a weapon of mass destruction. that is so important. i strongly agree with the statements. the civil most critical issue is how it will respond to the fukushima crisis. five months ago our staff issued a recommendation. it was intended to make u.s. and other power plants safer. in october, the staff required 8. these recommendations have the greatest potential for safety improvements in near-term and should be started without delay. one of the key problems in fukushima was the tsunami knocked out the station's back up power. because temperatures to rise in
reactors and resulted in a deadly release of radiation. the staff has recommended that all reactors to strengthen their capabilities to mitigate these types of blackouts. i look forward to hearing the views of all of the commissioners today on how we implement this and other be forms as soon as possible. with respect to the allegations of mismanagement, i agree that it is a serious matter when for commissioners read a letter to the white house criticizing the commissioner for creating a bad work environment. it should be taken seriously. the white house has done. i do not plan to be a referee. i believe you should be able to work out these views among yourself. i also believe that the current chairman has exhibited one of the strong the safety records of any previous nrc chairman.
i would encourage anybody here to read the hearing transcripts of the emergency operating centers set up by the chairman to help people of japan and united states citizens in the fukushima danger zone. he would be impressed by the skill of those who worked around the clock. as a result, i am struggling to determine how much of the squabbling relate to personality conflicts and how much relate to a fundamental disagreement about the structure of the commission itself. concludedtor general that they acted within the authority. the council agreed after examining it. he wrote an opinion that the actions that within his authority.
our committees own investigation, which has included transcribed interviews of 15 senior nrc staff and the review of thousands of documents, has uncovered no violations of law or instances in which safety of u.s. nuclear facilities have been placed on " jeopardy. the truth is that when congress reorganize the nrc < they created a structure with a very strong chairman. it demonstrated that the commission as a whole could not deal as judiciously with emergencies. this is not the first time there has been conflict between the chairmen and the other commissioners. a 1939 report describes a very similar situation that leads to attention. -- to tension.
where do we go from here? i believe they are all willing to fill the fundamental mission. i hope that we can use today's hearing as an opportunity to get beyond past differences that focus on the goal of nuclear safety. when the hearing is over, when the lights are down and the cameras are out, you still have to return to your workplace. with that i yield back. >> i now recognize the chairman for five minutes. >> @ thank you. i will be very brief. i want to thank the chairman for holding this today. this is in no way a partisan
issue. this is about an important commission. it is not functioning the way we want. it is important to hear from all of them. this is a commission charged with making sure it nuclear power plants are safe. that is an important task. it is all about good government. this is an important thing to have. i want to thank the chairman. i yield back the balance of my time. >> we now recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee, the other gentleman from ohio, for five minutes. >> thank you very much. safety is the issue. i take it personally. it affects my state and might area. we began investigating a mechanism that caused cracking. as a result of these findings,
they determined that the plant was at risk. the owner in ohio resisted the order, claiming that it should stay open without incident until march, 2002. he argued that a shutdown would cause a financial burden. rather than shutting down, the nrc relented and allowed the plant to operate. workers repairing one of the cracked control nozzles discovered extensive damage. the workers found a large crater the size of a football. only 3/16 of an inch of steel remained intact. that began to crack. the nrc later found the plant was as close to 60 days from
bursting. it would have jeopardized the immediate and long-term safety of millions of americans, not to mention the biggest for -- source of fresh water in the world. the government accountability office later weighed in on this: it, "the most serious safety issue." the department of justice said they admitted they knowingly made false representations to the nuclear regulatory commission in the course of attempting to persuade the nrc that the station was safe to operate. first energy's insurance company became worried and commission an independent study. the study which was released in april, 2007, painted an even darker picture. fout thet t commotion of the plate happened at a faster rate than was
reported. the reactor was closer to catastrophe that had previously been reported. despite the finding, just a few weeks before that was released, first energy asked the nrc to remove the requirement. they ask for less oversight. the nrc order modifying license led to the two dozen to incident, providing more at evidence that, it was over safety. -- that profit was over safety. first energy tried to convince the nrc the problems were solved when in fact they were not. first energy continues to try to pelletize profit over safety. since i do not have time to cover in detail the full history, i ask unanimous consent
to place in the record. >> without objection. >> several weeks ago, first energy had to shut down a plant and replace a reactor head. its design was flawed which greets leaking problems. they found a faction in the building designed to protect the court. also to prevent the release of radioactive steam. the scenario is also what happened in 2001 and exactly what happened at fukushima when the containment buildings blew up. a structurally couple must building a fourth less protection. -- compromised building affords less protection. there would differences between the story first energy told the public and the real story and only uncovered because of my own the best addition because of my staff. first energy try to convince the public they were only cosmetic
in nature. none of the above was accurate. first energy was eager to restart the plant even though they know -- even though they will not know the cause of the cracking until february. we should be looking at this. the corporations that run a nuclear power plants are no different than the corporations that drove our economy off a cliff. it will cut corners to maintain profit. in the absence of sufficient incentives, they must be regulated. the consequences of fiddling to do so are unthinkable. i hope i will -- the consequences of failing to do so are unthinkable. i hope we will reflect on the position here and help to achieve a culture of of the committee and public interest over corporate interest. i thank the chair for calling this hearing and for your attention to this critical matter. >> i thank the gentleman.
we now recognize out panels of witnesses. mr. gregory jaczko is the chairman of the commission. he is a particle physicist and inexperienced policy adviser who has served in the commission since 2005 and served on both sides of the dome in the past. i grew up near slavic village. i should be able to do these names better. she is an experienced nuclear engineer, a policy adviser who came in 2008.
commissioner william mack would -- magwood joined the commission in 2010. he served as director of nuclear energy at the department of energy. commissioner william came to the commission last year after a career in the nuclear navy. and then, thank you for being understanding. the commissioner is an expert in assessment and came to the commission in 2010 after many years as a professor at mit. pursuant to the rules, all witnesses will be sworn. leave please rise? -- will you please rise?
raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. but the witness it -- but the record indicate all witnesses have answered in the affirmative. as i said, nobody knows anything other than what we have heard. you are here so we hear all of you. i will ask you to try to come close to five minutes. i am not going to gavel people. i am going to be very generous in your response time so that we can hear from all of you here today. >> thank you. we have been asked to appear before you today to discuss the management and operations of the nuclear regulatory commission.
this year has been a challenging and productive year for the nrc. as usual, the staff has done as of stan -- an outstanding job. the agency's board among the top tier of a federal agencies. it scored number one and all four major indices. at the nrc, we anticipated 2011 would be a busy year with unexpected issues, most notably the fukushima accident and multiple natural disasters, including the earthquake on the east coast and other serious what -- threats created additional pressures. in spite of those challenges, the staff and commission remained focused on our safety mission. during the past year, we performed dozens of hours of the
-- of inspections, took hundreds of enforcement actions, reviewed more than one dozen of licensing actions, and issued new regulations. -- more than 1000 licensing actions, and issued new regulations. the nrc has conducted a greater number of special inspections than at any point in recent memory. during the past year, we completed the reviews of the first two new reactor applications. we held mandatory hearings on both of these applications. these were both historic actions by the commission. we issued final safety evaluation reports for design certifications and issued eight reactor license renewals. be also completed two pilot applications for transition to our new performance based approach. we held a meeting of the day to
talk about the progress being made. -- we held a meeting is today to talk about the progress being made. we also completed the orderly close out of our activities and preserve the technical work and technical reports, more than 40 of the reports, and videotape staff interviews. we have also improved -- published evidence documents and posted the first regulatory review service mission. that is an international. the mission missionpeer -- international peer reviw mission. we held 10 closed meetings and issued 92 staff memoranda. this was 30 more decisions then
we completed in 2010. in line with our commitment to transparency, we noticed more than 1,030 public meetings. construction of a new third headquarters building is also on schedule and on budget. of course, we undertook tremendous efforts in response to the earthquake and a tsunami in japan in the nuclear emergency at to shima -- to the earthquake and a tsunami in japan and the nuclear emergency at fukushima. we made recommendations for enhancing safety. this task force reported that with a comprehensive set of 1260 recommendations addressing a broad set of issues. these recommendations have undergone additional reviews by the staff, our committee, and we have benefited from the insights
of stockholders. the commission has directed the staff to begin implementing partially or fully by safety recommendations of the task force. we set goals of completing black at rulemaking within 24 months. members, this concludes my formal testimony. i would be pleased to respond to any questions. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. you have requested that members address the issue of management at the nrc.
>> we were to carry of our responsibilities for the american people. we are seeing a career managers with done a tremendous job. my colleagues and i have indoor a dishonest media campaign over the last week. it is quite clear that this campaign have to do with the real concerns we have. i do not intend to allow this to proceed. one issue i must address have to do with the issue this if it. after 20 months, we all place it in security at the top about consideration. we do not always agree on the goal of safety. we do not view is the same way. i believe we are all committed to the same goal. motivations of the goals of
commission because of disagreements to strategy or purchase is irresponsible as i discussed, i feel my true role is to give voice to the men and women who serve the nrc, . first, i am most concerned that the chairman has asserted the authority to decide what information is provided to the commission when it is provided and what information reaches the commission. this behavior is contrary to both the letter and intent of the low position plan and no commissioner could confidently carry out under these conditions in my statement, i outlined an example in which the chairman prevented this death from a voting paper. he went as far as to send someone to break up a staff briefing -- briefing.
we did not allow it to end. members have come to commissioners to alert us. the commission has come to rely on periphery of individuals to keep us informed. what worries me most is the fact we do not know what we do not know. the second concern is a growing cancer it the agency. as i outlined the written statement, i have observed the of that. i believe the situation is worth -- worst in recent months. i would like to move on to my final concern. the chairman's abusive behavior to the staff. to understand is, i spoke to three of the women who have had experience with the behavior. a reflection they all shared was i did not deserve it. one woman said she felt the chairman was irritated with someone else.
another told me she was angry at herself for being brought to tears. but there discussed how she could not stop shaking. she sat talking through what happened to her until she calmed down enough to drive home. our female staff are tough, smart women. and during this abuse end -- uring --this of - enduring this abuse is painful for them. none of these women want their names to be known publicly. they say, i do not want to be dragged through the mud. these are major concerns facing the agency today. providing information to the commission, and the abuse of staff. i do not believe it is susceptible and any organization. thank you for your attention. >> i thank you.
>> thank you. thank you for the chance to be here today. i served on this commission since april, 2010. during that time i have come to appreciate the reputation nrc has enjoyed. not only in the united states, but in the international community. the reputation can be contributed to the employees who showed dedication to the organizational buddies of integrity, service, openness, commitment, and cooperation, excellent, and respect. for decades, these values have served as a guide for this that as well as for the commission. these values have also fostered an open and collaborative work place that brings at the best judges of the staff without
influence or pressure. unfortunately, we find ourselves in an environment where those historical studies have been compromised. the agency's reputation is at risk. if left uncorrected, this damages the ability of the staff and the commission to carry out its safety mission for the country. i have over 30 years of service to this country. i served on six submarines. i commanded a simmering for three years. i had command of an attack submarine squadron. i have been accountable to the government and white house for ensuring the safety of nuclear power in warships. i take great pride in that service. i take pride in my own decision making in respect to those principles that inch or safety. after retiring from the navy in 2002, i worked at the house armed services committee.
subsequent to that, and spent two years in the department of energy. with significant experience in leadership positions, whether it be nuclear weapons or nuclear power, i can say to this committee that i have never seen an environment where the highest level of the organization does not reflect the values shared by the whole. along with the three of my colleagues who signed the letter, october 13, we took the same oath to faithfully discharge the duties of our office. i refuse to be silenced of damage is being done to the work in. it is important to comment on what a little as an unprecedented action. the letter that was received but thursday evening. this letter is not about
politics. it was signed by two democratic and two republican members. i regret that that letter is being betrayed as being politically motivated. i assure this committee it is not. it is not about yucca mountain. it is not about internal conflict between commissioners. that is one element of our concerns. with great respect for the white house, i must take exception to the chief of staff letter that mischaracterized the situation of the commission. what is this letter about? this letter is about actions that have eroded the prized collaborative work environment of the nrc. these actions have prevented the commission from being fully informed of the views and recommendations. it is about behavior that is
exhibited -- exhibited by one of our licensees would be subject for investigation. it is about bling and intimidating behavior to career staff that should not be tolerated. in light of our agreement, these actions can not continue. the four of us fulfill a d'ivoire oath of office and took a private action. -- the four of us fulfilled a our oath of office and took private action. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. commissioner. >> members of the committee, good morning. management and operation of the nuclear regulatory commission is important. my perspective is grounded in my experience and observation as a member of the commission. my former role as a 15-year
member and chairman of the advisory committee on rectory safeguards -- reactory safeguards. the commission's independent and multi-member character is designed to insulate a regulatory decisions from political consideration and to provide stability for regulatory policy. nuclear safety matters are complex. this commission's structure allows for a diversity of insight to be brought to bear in decision making. the plan at number one of 1980, the commission formulates policy and regulations, issued orders, and conducts adjudication. policy formulation includes administrative decisions with
policy implications. the commission has ultimate authority to determine by majority vote in an area of doubt whether any matter, question, or area of inquiry pertains to one of these functions the committee on government -- functions. the committee on governmental affairs declared that, "the committee intends the commission to exercise the authority to interpret the plan." the history of the plan and the presidential messages to congress in submitting the plan emphasized that the chairman is subject to the policies of the commission and the oversight authorities of the commission. as principal executive, the chairman has the ultimate responsible to the public for the day-to-day management and administration. the chairman is responsible to the commission for assuring that
the executive director and the staff are responsive to the requirements of the commission. the reorganization plan also provides that the heads of the offices of the general counsel, the secretary of the committee, and the villa -- the advisory committee shall continue to report to the commission. the chairman and executive director are responsible for insuring that the commission is fully and currently informed about matters within the function. the reporting relations of the executive director to the chairman is not intended to interfere with the ability to make independent recommendations on matters that the commissioner has delegated to him. well the chairman has spent the responsibilities -- while the chairman has special
responsibilities, the commission could not function if senior managers were required to misrepresent or suppressed their views. the commission is served by it that it's that with many senior managers who bring advanced technical expertise. their technical of valuations are essential to inform decision making. unbiased perspective to the commission for its decision making and oversight is it essential to the agency's mission. i joined my fellow commissioners to formally expressed our series concerns regarding the chairman's leadership. i regret that other motives have been ascribed to the action we have taken. this could not be further from the truth. thank you very much. >> thank you. i would like to thank all of you first thing under five
minutes to read again, all of your false statements -- 5 minutes. again, all of your full written statements are going to be in the record. i recognize myself for five minutes. who is your board of directors? for the people out there who do not know government, what is the equivalent of your board of directors? >> i would say, i am responsible as chairman for carrying out the policies the commission -- >> are you the c o? >> i believe the statute describes the chairman as the ceo. >> you view yourself as the chairman. who is your board of directors? >> i would say combination of the commission, the congress as well serves a role in its capacity to oversee the
operation. >> are the gentlemen and lady next to you, are they your board? >> that is one way to characterize the commission's structure. >> if one of these members asks for a boat and four of them vote that what you are doing is wrong, you consider that to be interesting or obligatory? >> if the commission takes an action and we have a formal procedures to carry at our actions, then of course they are actions i would follow. >> if they asked to vote to not being locked up of animation, would you consider that is your responsibility -- locked out of information, would you consider that is your responsibility?
>> i believe the commission has provided -- >> no, no, no, we want the answer to the question we asked. is it true that any information you had has ever been withheld from any of these people on your request? >> not that i am aware of. >> you have never asked to have any information -- >> i work every day to ensure the commission as the intermission it needs. >> not what it meneeds. they have a full and unfettered rights to everything. they determine, as any commission would, they have to have everything or everything they think they have. what they do not know they have the right to ask and no. >> absolutely. the commission routinely asks
for information. >> they disagree with you. >> you have a background. you are a physicist. interesting stuff i do not know anything about. have you ever run an organization? >> this is the first time i have done that. >> what is the largest organization he was ceo of? >> i was responsible for managing my personal staff as a commissioner. >> half a dozen or something like that. >> yes. >> commissioner, as a navy captain, how many people work for you? different jobs. as commanding officer i had 150 people. as commander 1200.
i was chief operating officer for 12 of the people -- 1200 people. what's from your leadership training, from your new year's -- >> from your leadership training, from your years in the navy, you have said that its chairman has exceeded any semblance of the kind of authority you believe he should have in his conduct. he has had conduct that does in danger people because it is conduct that is demoralizing to people in an organization that, if my nuclear power plant in my district, if they had someone like chairman jaczko is alleged
to be, you would shut down that site. is that not true? >> if i understand your question, i do not believe we have been fully informed. it could impact how we perceive an accident. >> i am going to ask for 30 more seconds. >> i think i would add that there are cases where my office has asked for information and have been told we could not have it. it is pretty black and white. >> the chairman was less than truthful. >> i do not want to sit here and say someone was not telling the truth, i will tell you what my experience has been.
>> thank you. the gentleman from maryland. >> i want to thank all of you for your testimony. i am just sitting here wondering what is going to happen after you go back. we are not experts on this function. -- dysfunction. the country says the congress is not operating well at all. i did not want to tell you have to conduct your business. i am concerned about the statements that have been made. particulate, chairman jaczko, with women feeling intimidated. that does concern me. i want you to address that. how do you feel about that? the thing that is true? >> i am very passionate about
safety. all of the things i do are directed towards doing what i think is the right thing for safety. when i heard the incident -- about the incident referred to, i tried to think through all the meetings we had had together where we had good discussions, disagreements about policy issues. i believe there was one meeting where she may have been referring to as i recall the meeting, i went to office to speak with her about a letter. at a point we were discussing it, she became concerned. i simply motion, i said let's sit down, let's come down, let's move would -- work through it. we continued to discuss it. at some point i left. >> is this a situation, when you
all go back -- >> many of these instances, this is the first time i've heard of these accusations. if there has been a time where i meet someone feel uncomfortable, i like to know. >> you testified before the senate committee on environment and public works that he would never told the chairman was operating under his emergency authority until the office informed the senate. do you remember when that was? >> i do not recall the specific time period. i think the question was, was i
informed that he had invoked his emergency authorities? i indicated that a learned of that when the congress of congressional affairs responded to a request. i do not remember how many months after the event that was. >> we conducted an interview with the general counsel who took a different view. this is what he said, i have heard testimony they were not informed that the chairman was exercising his emergency power. the commissioners were informed that the operation center had gone into this monitoring mode soon after the to mishima -- fukushima event. the key concern was the reactors. that was march 12. i sat on a conference call in which the chairman told each commissioner, each was on the call, was explaining what was going on with respect to the
reactors. commissioner, were you on that call? >> i was. if i may say, the general counsel's response indicated that we were reformed. we were in monitoring mode. the misunderstanding is in my view, that does not correlate to indication of emergency abode is. the agency going into the monitoring both does not evoke those authorities. >> it seems obvious that the commission was operating an emergency operating centers, they were responding to an emergency. >> the agency has gone into the monitoring mode where the chairman has not invoked the americans the authorities. i do not correlate being notified as an indication of those authorities. >> there was an emergency
operation. is that right? >> yes. other than the term being the same, i apologize if my answer is complicated. it is the agency going into a monetary mode does not invoke -- >> it is your objection you did not receive a paper stating, we are having an emergency? >> the significance of the indication is that under the reorganization plan, the chairman has taken the authorities of the commission as a whole. he is able to exercise singularly the authorities of the commission. i do see a distinction. what could you clear that up? when did you inform them -- >> could you clear that up? when did you inform them? >> the first action was on march 11.
one of my staff members indicated we were entering monitoring mode. a formal agency e-mail went out. i then, later that evening, this was all on the thursday, said in evening to my colleagues informing them that we were in mccarren mode. i talked about our response and what we would do in. from that point on, we had meetings three times a day. there's that were briefed by members of the operation center about -- there's that was pleased by members of our operations center. -- their staff was briefed by members of our operations center. >> thank you. >> i thank the gentleman. >> i thank the chairman.
on october 13, you sent a letter to the white house chief of staff. that seems unprecedented that he would have -- you would have two democrats, two republicans sent a letter to the chief of staff do you know if there is any other examples of that happening, other commissions with the same action was taken? >> i agree, it is an unprecedented action. i am not aware of a similar situation. >> you knew this was something that had not been done before. this was unprecedented. >> the four of us were not aware of any action. >> you had several discussions about taking this on president action? -- unprecedented action?
was there a time when you talk about taking this action? >> -- was there a time frame you talked about taking this action. >> the committee report is in our report. concerns about how the report should be of value it did. there was concern among the four of us. we discussed our concerns with the chairman. we saw a chance to remove -- a step to remove a senior career person. we saw the october 5 meeting with the chairman made statements to senior executives that seemed to undermine the commission. that was the costs in line for my own standpoint. -- crossing line from my
standpoint. >> well thought out, you said the situation was just taking this action. >> we had seen that l. it comes -- that our attempts had not yielded any difference in behavior. we felt we had the ut -- responsibility for the united states. >> can i go down the line. would you agree with the assessments given? >> yes, sir. i would. i would ed that we had engaged in efforts to attempt some of -- to resolve some of these issues. >> very accurate. what it is accurate. >> we have a chart here, the five commissioners, the professional staff, this chart
here, 30 different folks. you cannot testify for them. is it fair to say is that on this page has real concerns about the leadership style of mr. jaczko? >> i can tell you that prior to signing the letter, my other three colleagues will tell you the same thing, we had significant feedback from senior career leadership expecting great concerns about a lack of an open collaborative work environment. >> one more question. you stated in your testimony that it bothers you that some are alleging that the actions the four of you have taken a politically motivated. -- are politically motivated. it is a stretch in the fact is
two democrats and two republicans. the think the actions of the chairman have been politically motivated? his style of leadership, the think that is politically driven? >> -- do you think that is politically driven? >> that is a difficult question. i have no evidence they are. i will tell you that we have seen a significant issue that we think is unacceptable. >> i am sorry. i think i did a better job on the name but i am struggling. >> i will not testify to political motivation. i would describe my motivation in signing that letter was on the conduct issues. >> fair enough. >> i would answer the question the same way. let's ok.
>> my motivation was not political. >> do you think the german's was? >> i have no evidence -- the chairman's was? >> i have no evidence. >> thank you. >> thank you. we now recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee. >> thank you. i want to quote from an article in politico, it says, behind closed doors they snipe at each other. in public, the question each of the's motives. in front of congress, they hang each other out to dry. that is like on the federal election commission. not the nrc. i would imagine that if we
called up one commission after another, you would have some complaints that they not be dissimilar from what we have here. the difference is 104 nuclear power plants in various stages of licensing, some of which have some questions related to safety, seven months ago, march 11, 2011 -- may 11, 2011, i am frankly wondering why you are here. i appreciate the chairman calling the hearing. >> i would make one point. the one big difference is i am sure they have those actions
taking place inside of the fec. no commission has taken the action of having four members signed a letter and send it to the white house chief of staff. >> i thank the chairman for calling the hearing. i thank my friend for pointing that out. it is important for us to look beyond what we see it and consider -- what we see and consider we have an industry in trouble. the nuclear industry came to this government to look for a $60 billion loan guarantee. the industry is in trouble. the commissioners are going to reflect what is going on in the industry. i would expect that what is happening here, that is why we need to look deeper into what we are hearing about the nrc and ask, what is going on with the industry? what do the titans of the industry have to say about the chairman?
mr. jaczko, a store reported you were worried that a nuclear plant operators may pleasant -- may have become complacent. he said recent instances of human error have the and the safety of some of the nation's nuclear facilities. -- have threatened the safety of some of the nation's nuclear facilities. workers were almost -- almost got significant doses of radiation. the article reports that in addition, three other plants were shut down for safety reasons. this marks the first time in more than a decade that several plants have been shut down at the same time. can you elaborate on some of the specific events that have occurred recently and which ones w the most and why? >> -- trouble you the most and
why? >> the offense with the worker exposure were very significant. it appears to indicate a lack of adherence to procedures. after i made those comments, i heard from industry officials. they may not have agreed with my assessment, they did it knowledge there is a change in the workforce in the nuclear industry. there are new workers. we are seeing some of these incidents in which the new workers may not have a full appreciation of the procedures. it is an important signal. it is not clear we are seeing a decline in safety. it is important that we need to keep a close eye on it as the year goes on and as we continue our oversight. >> is a year top concern? >> it has been my number 1 tie
with the -- is a safety your top concern? >> it has been my number one priority. i was proud of the staff at the nrc that we have worked hard for a long time to focus on safety. that accident reminded us that there is no way to rule of accidents. there is no way to prevent all kinds of serious incidents. we have to be more vigilant and dedicated than we have ever been. >> my time has expired. i ask consent to place in the record is that report. -- a staff report. >> whose death report? -- staff report. >> i will reserve but for a short period of time. it will only take a couple of minutes.
we recognize the gentleman from utah. >> thank you. thank you for holding this meeting. you are aware of the letter that was sent to the white house to the chief of staff. there are five serious charges. intimidating and bling senior career staff, true or false? what i have not. >> orders that to modify it recommendations -- ordered staff to modify recommendations? >> there was one occasion i discussed with a senior manager a recommendation he wanted to make on an issue. >> only one time? >> correct. >> intimidated the advisory committee on reactor safeguards?
>> walz. >> ignore the will of the majority of the commission? >> i have never ignored the will of the majority. >> interacted with us with such disrespect that the commission does not function as it should it? >> i am passionate about safety. i engage my colleagues in discussions about safety. that has been my style. >> in other words, they are all wrong. you are exactly right. >> i have listened very carefully to the concerns of my colleagues. >> and you have done nothing wrong? >> i have listened very carefully to the concerns of my colleagues. i am interested in continuing the dialogue with them. >> let me continue.
my time is short. it does not seem like any concern. but you telling me, the office of the inspector general did a report, page 44, a portion of a sentence, "he provided three of the four commissioners with varying amounts of information." would you disagree? >> the inspector general found that my actions were consistent with the law. what do you agree or disagree with the inspector general -- >> do you agree or disagree with the inspector general? >> i disagree. i have to tell you, my colleagues, we talked about the safety, the security of this nation. the importance of the nuclear situation in this country.
this should be bipartisan. the commission is bipartisan. we have people who are suffering under this gentleman. he is not putting up to the duties. i do not believe it. i think safety is too important. i think you should resign. i believe in these commissioners. god bless for stepping up. what a gentleman yield? what it is too important to get this right. -- >> ted, neild? >> it is too important to get this right. an inspector general who goes out and looks at this. you are telling me, they are all wrong, you are right. that is a lack of leadership. i hope there is some sort of change. if you are going to do the right thing for your country and the commission, he should step down.